The Marriage Widget – Part 2

BY MARGARET ELLIS

For those of you who had the opportunity to read the first part of this series, you will agree that this one is long overdue.  In the last article, I shared that the purpose of marriage is designed first to fulfill God’s mandate in our lives.  Marriage was the first institution that God established in the earth and not only did he speak it into existence he also facilitated the process.  According to the bible, God created man (Adam) and then woman (Eve) out of his ribs for the sole purpose of being his wife and helpmate.  Once God brought the two together, it was established that “man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two of them shall become one flesh”.  Before the purpose of the union was defined though, the vision for the two of them already existed.  In the first scripture in the bible – Genesis 1, it is written that God created all the earth and everything in it (plants of all sorts, birds in the air, fishes in the sea, animals of all breed) and set man over this prestigious office to be the general overseer of his estate.    He spoke a decree over man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and govern it.  Besides speaking his vision for man, God also defined the purpose for which marriage should exist between a man and woman (to cling together and become one).  Since we have a mandate to build our homes and build a lasting marriage which glorifies God, we have to invest in learning and teaching each other how to balance life and marriage to fulfill God’s mandate.

My husband and I believe that marriage as an institution demands for learning and acquisition of new knowledge and in some instances, just friendly reminders of the things we already know.  If you’re like us, you would agree that it is challenging at times to give our marriages the attention it deserves because life demands for so much from us and we feel pulled in different directions.  For these reasons, we welcome the acquiring and sharing of pertinent information to keep ourselves knowledgeable.  Today, I want to share some tips my husband and I have learned and utilize to maintain balance in our relationship. 

1.   Eat together –  you may agree that our society in general is moving away from the valuable tradition of togetherness.  Most of us have missed the mark on the knowledge that relationships can be mended, hurts healed, forgiveness taking place when we gather together around the table to partake in a meal that was prepared with so much love.  You can even take this a step further by engaging the family members in the preparation, cooking and setting up of the table.  There’s power in working together and breathing an environment of love and support in the home.  Besides, time spent in the kitchen and dining area can be used to carry on deep and meaningful conversations.

 

2. Understand each other’s needs and wants- keep in mind that a man has a great need to be honored while a woman has a greater need to be respected.  I find that even though a man may not demand for it, he thrives on being appreciated and valued.  For most women, their desire is to feel secure, feel heard and understood and these happen to be characteristics of “respect”.  Remember, it is on always the big things that matter, rather; a sincere “thank you”, “I appreciate you”, “I apologize, I’m sorry”, “I love you” and the list goes on, could very well be the miracle that your spouse is desperately longing for. 

 

3.    Be submissive to each other – There seems to exist a misconception about submissiveness in our society and for this reason, it is worth mentioning that submission in its right context does not constitute to weakness but rather; it means that one has reached a certain level of maturity to be able to exercise “meekness” which simply means ‘strength under control’.  Besides, submission to one another in marriage is a biblical principal; “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” Ephesians 5:21 (KJV).

 

4.    Agree on matters – It has been established that a husband and wife are considered “one flesh” and for this reason, they must support each other even in decision making.  A successful marriage requires both parties to understand each other’s drives, motives, fears and insecurities for pushing forward or backwards on a particular issue.  Agreeing on matters also requires in-depth conversations sometimes and a lot of flexibility.  

 

5.    Communicate, communicate, communicate – keeping an open line of communication in a relationship can be challenging at times because it requires bring all issues, concerns, challenges and needs/wants to the table.  Embracing the culture of honest and open communication in a marriage can mitigate the possibility of dealing with internal struggles which in some cases could lead to isolation, withdrawal, mental distractions, emotional distance etc which all have a negative effect in the relationship.

I want to leave you with the words of wisdom I learned from the webinar I attended a few months ago.  The facilitator shared that: marriage goes through three phases: “Ecstasy” (excitement, honeymoon), “Fantasy” (perfection, cuteness), and then “Reality” (when what was once cute and okay now becomes unacceptable).   He explained it further by adding that marriage has the “engagement ring” (Ecstasy), “marriage ring” (Fantasy) and “suffer ring” (reality).   My parting word is to encourage you that it does not matter what season you find yourself in, God is with you every step of the way.  Just do your part and leave the rest to him.


        Margaret Ellis

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Margaret Ellis is a Gambian native, marriage coach and blogger who enjoys sharing her rich heritage with the world through her writing, speaking, ministration, teaching, and relationships with others.  Margaret can be described in many ways however; she is known to many as being passionate, driven, nurturing and a mentor who always seeks opportunities to learn and share her knowledge with others. She is constantly motivated by an empowering statement she once heard which stated: “God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us.


 

Going Viral...

MY WIG FELL OFF AND IT WENT VIRAL...

I FIND IT LIBERATING

BY JESSICA CHINYELU

One stunning picture broke the internet the other day and it has my fiancé and I in shock still at this very moment. We’re both thinking, “How in the world did this happen?” We had articles written about us from BuzzFeed, ABCNews, DailyMail UK, BellaNaija Weddings,  Houston Chronicle, Linda Ikejis blog, Brides.com, and a number of others. 

We just freaking went viral by simply keeping it real. Look, my life is no fairy tale and our goal isn’t to have an internet famous wedding or be some hot item couple that everyone wants to be like. We were honestly just being ourselves. 

We’re both super thankful that everyone has showed us so much love and support. We tried to read through almost all 2,000 comments from the first initial share on Facebook by Munaluchi Bridal Magazine. We were amazed at all of the positive energy. There was not one single NEGATIVE comment. Everything POSITIVE. 

 

I was even more surprised when the Founder of Munalichi Bridal posted on my wall, “Such a great moment. Thanks for sharing with us. People needed to see that!” I pondered on that for a moment. Then my beyond FANTASTIC wedding planner, Chioma of Dure Events calls me and says, “Jessica, look at what you did?” I’m like what in the world did I do? You just did what no one else would think to do. You posted a picture that’s not perfect and that’s the beauty of it!” Now we done gone viral. We are still trying to process this. 

I think most people are surprised I did it, but those who are really close to me understand I just want to be me without any limits. If that means posting a picture of my man twirling me around as my wig falls off then I’ve learned to accept it even if others don’t. 

My greatest desire has always been to help passionate women live an authentic life of freedom. “Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” - Brene Brown. That picture expresses every bit of my world, my authenticity and my freedom. Believe me when I say it has taken me a very long time to get to this place, but now that I’m here, I’m enjoying every bit of it. 

Seasons ago in different episodes of my life, I would’ve been so afraid to share an image like what I shared due to caring to much about what others would think. Or I would’ve asked ten other people what they would do and allowed myself to be talked out of something I really had peace about. But now I’m free and I’m enjoying every bit of it. 

For awhile, I always thought to myself, “If I could just be like her. If only I were her size. If my hair was like hers. If I had as many followers. What is she doing that I’m not doing? I’m in the wrong field. God, have you forgotten about me?” The list goes on…. Seriously these were the conversations I had with myself and sometimes still do. Don’t act like you’ve never had these thoughts before. 

During one of my driest seasons part of 2014 and 2015, I removed myself from the world to focus on my inner being so that way it could stand out more than my outer being. I hope that makes sense. I learned a great deal about freedom. I learned what it meant to be a free woman. 

I knew that I had grown as a woman when I made the decision to post the infamous wig picture. I looked at my best friend and said, “I want to post a funny picture today!” And then I posted a collage showing my wig falling off. It wasn’t even an edited picture from one of the greatest photographers on the planet, RH Photoarts. That’s probably why the unedited images looked so good. But the point I want to make is that your freedom does not lie in the hands of people. It’s something that is rightfully yours and already belongs to you. 

Freedom does not care what others think about you because everyone is always going to have an opinion about you. All you can do is learn to be the BEST you and ACCEPT the BEST you. 

Freedom does not seek the approval of others. Whether you have a large following or small following JUST BE YOU. Don’t try to change yourself to fit in with the masses. The masses will follow as you JUST BE YOU and ENJOY BEING YOU. Don’t be subjected to the standards of this world. Your news doesn’t have to be just like everyone else’s news. You can either always view and talk about the news of others and try to create a similar news or you can BE THE NEWS because you make the choice to LOVE YOU, ACCEPT YOU and ENJOY YOU. 

What is it about you that makes you different? What is it about you that separates you from the rest? What's within you that you are hiding from the world out of fear? That being within you desires to be free and deserves to be free. 

We must OWN every moment that God places in our laps. We must BECOME and BELIEVE in the awesome being that is hidden within us. We can be free because freedom is rightfully ours and belongs to us. 

Freedom is a choice and we can all live a life of freedom. We can all be a light in a world that tries so hard to kill our authenticity. “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” This is FREEDOM and it is ours. - CG Jung


JESSICA CHINYELU

Jessica Chinyelu is a Nigerian-American, born and raised in Greenville, Texas. She grew up in church, but was unaware of what a true relationship with Jesus meant. One night, while under the influence and ready to end her life, she heard the voice of God pleading with her to surrender her life to him. Jessica is the lady behind Woman of Purpose. She encourages women of all ages across the globe to center their everyday lives around Christ. She shares how the Lord can meet you right were you are just like Jesus and the woman at the well and the man at the pool of Bethesda. Her greatest desire is to educate and disciple women on how to apply the living word of God to every area of their lives and start living a victorious life of freedom. 

Finding Myself

BY JASMIN BLEDSOE

Hell hath no fury..

Greater than the times my life was weary.

Born into sin..

When will I live again.

The day that I lost myself is the day that I found me.

The greatest gift ever was redemption.

It didn’t matter that I was illegitimate.

My past, before, I constantly tried to get rid of it.

 

I wanted to disappear at one point.

Because I didn’t turn to liquor or smoke a joint.

I had no escape.

There was no superhero clothe in a cape.

I was trapped in my mind.

I desperately wanted to leave the bad things behind.

I wanted to become blind.

Have just a portion of some peace of mind.

 

It drove me to the point of questioning my existence.

The bad times why were they so persistent.

Until one day I decided to take an initiative.

If I wanted a change, I had to rearrange.

My thoughts.

The things that I accept.

What I believed.

All negative things would have to leave.

 

There would have to be a sacrifice.

Because finding yourself is about killing your old self.

It's about working on becoming the best you.

Finding yourself is learning to love you completely.

I didn't use to..but now I know.

No one will ever love me if I don't display love for myself.

Never again will I sell myself short.

Thank God I finally know my worth.


    Jasmin Bledsoe

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Jasmine Bledsoe is a purposed writer, blogger, and speaker who believes and promotes self discovery.  Her mission is to inspire others through the transparency of her life and experiences. It is her hope that by sharing her writings someone is inspired to live the life and purpose that they were created for, knowing that God uses the most unpleasant situations to build the most incredible person. You can read more by visiting her website www.saysjasmine.com.

 

 

 

Seek Him

BY SHAWNTA WASHINGTON

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall come upon you.

Matthew 6:33

 

What do you seek, give it to me take your leap! I will complete,

what you want, give it to me 

I'm the potter you should seek me.

Not my gifts but me. 

What i give you, give my portion back to me.

I will make you stable, strong and complete my timing is distinct.

My ways are beyond unique there's noone like me 

Can you trust me?

-Jesus-


Shawnta Washington

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Shawnta is a daughter of the most high God, whobelieves we all are here to be a full expression of ourselves. Her purpose on this earth is to build herself in the knowledge of Christ in order to give herself away so that she can reach her full potential in Christ Jesus!

Moving Past Unbelief

BY Oluwadamilola Oshodi

 

Lets give a little back-story before we get into the post.  Now, if you want to see how to piss God off, lets take a look at the Israelites. A 40 day journey, took 40 YEARS. YES lady’s and gentleman, 40 YEARS. Now, I could easily put the bible verses here, but again I encourage you to read for yourself. I’ll place the reading HERE, or you can get your bible and read Numbers 13:25-33. Also, read Numbers 14: 26-38 or click HERE

You read it? Great! Just to give you some info before we delve into the topic of unbelief. Today’s post is going to be based on this book in the bible, Hebrews.  Bruh, if you have not read that book I suggest you do so. Again, I encourage you as a follower to read your word for yourselves to get a clearer understanding.  (click here for verses)  Isn’t bible study fun lol, I know I’m being somewhat dramatic, but, its ok, its all for your growth.

Spiritual Detours

When it comes to Hebrews, Paul receiving a word from the Holy Spirit. Basically saying, that the only reason the Israelites did not receive at that time all God promised, was because of unbelief. God gave them a word, that they would enter a land flowing with milk and honey (blessings, favor, abundance). The result, they chose not to believe. Now, unbelief may seem minuscule, but it births a lot of spiritual detours in our lives.

The unbelief the Israelites had gave birth to FEAR. This fear blocked them from receiving the blessings God told them they would receive. The circumstances that did not look favorable, paralyzed their thinking, ultimately making them think they would enter the land by their own strength; which we all know is not possible to do tasks in which the human mind cannot perceive on our own. These fears lead to DOUBT. They doubted the strength of the lord. How could he have led us this far? Is he going to deliver? Can I please run back to what I used to know? Who am I? When you want to go back to your old self and environment, its time to really check the situation immediately. Especially, if God personally delivered you. Now I’m not saying you should not ask questions, God can answer them, for he created all things. However, if you are for sure for sure receiving and knowing you have received a word from God, its best you stay away from doubtful questions.

The doubt in which they felt, then led to DISOBEDIENCE. They stopped following the lord by letting go of their trust, and began to rebel. Rebellion came in the form of complaints, and whining, basically not giving praise for what the Lord had promised. Lastly, this disobedience to the instructions of the lord ultimately caused them to SIN. Sin is what causes us to separate from God. The voice that once boomed in our hearts becomes softer and softer till we can’t hear it.

Lets Check Ourselves

I want to make one thing clear. When it comes to the word, we cannot believe that this type of things don’t happen today. We can’t detach ourselves and feel this is old news. This is real and it’s happening in many of us on different levels. I’ve been saying for the longest that we are the Israelites. We can find correlations with ourselves in their stories. Is it not true?

The Holy Spirit urges us in Hebrews 3 not to harden our hearts when we hear from the lord. God does not like to repeat himself. If he gave you instructions or a word of any sorts, he expects us to either follow through and or wait on him. The lord simply wanted the Israelites to check out the land, report and capture. They got scared, like many of us do and started to doubt the lord, which left them in unbelief. When we stop believing the word and promise we gained from God, internally we are telling him, he is not the author of our lives. We are in control and NO we won’t listen.

This can lead to a prideful spirit, because we may believe that the word God gave us does not make sense; due to the circumstances, so we take matters into our own hands. Therefore, we are telling God he is NOT who he says he is. The creator is not a fan of people discrediting his name.

When we let ourselves fall to unbelief, we end up messing up the blessing. By engaging negative thoughts, which can become reality, trying to control the situation the way we want and not allowing it to grow naturally. We as humans are an interesting group. It’s just another reminder of how much we need the lord.

Renewal of the Mind

Look at it like this. If God has blessed you with something, stop questioning the blessing. I understand, some blessings we have to put work in, to prepare ourselves for them. And that scares us because we think we should just receive it. But if God tells you it’s yours, then it IS! No matter the wait.  We should refrain from second guessing the word of the lord. Also, if God is telling you to do something, let us not harden ourselves not to hear instructions (maybe its not in the way we expected) let’s embrace it and ask him for strength to endure the process. Obedience is better than sacrifice.

The lord has been so gracious to me personally. I doubt him at times on certain issues. Lord is this for me? Like, is this really really for me? Like really really mine? Are you sure God? If it is, give me a sign (He does) ok, give me another? (Don’t hear from him on the topic till God knows when). I write this because the Holy Spirit had to check your girl this week on this topic. Will explain at a later date, wait on it.

Therefore, instead of us to question constantly, let us just praise him for hearing his voice and promising us something we could not have imagined. It’s another way God wows us. He knows we can’t do it on our own. He is waiting on us to ask for help. We need to shake loose the unbelief that we received a word from God, and just glorify him by being obedient. I’m not saying by tomorrow you will be better. Nah. But when thoughts of unbelief surface in your mind, let’s praise God in those moments for the word. Even if you are scared, make a conscious decision to wait on the lord and not let fear or anything deter you from receiving. Let’s actively pursue a renewal of the mind. Until next time….

Bye Friend!


Oluwadamilola Oshodi

A 22 year old college student in the city of Miami, who aspires to be in medicine in the future. Oluwadamilola popularly known as Dammy is aphotographer, organizer, bible reader and cupcake eater.

The Marriage Widget – Part 1

BY MARGARET ELLIS

When I was growing up in The Gambia, I was always fascinated by married women. I watched the women cook, clean, take care of the family, look all put together most of the time so I thought they lived perfect lives. Now, how could I even think that when I saw those same women being reprimanded, corrected in public, attacked by in-laws, and humiliated many a time? When I look back now, I understand why I was blindfolded. Even though challenges existed in marriages, most of the women were able to hold on to the anchor. I did not witness a lot of separations in those days so I would not have been able to understand the weight of distress some of these women were carrying.

Fast forward a few decades, I see a change in our society. Even though Marriage is the first institution that God established on this earth, it has somewhat lost its weight and value over time. Our society’s elders, religious leaders, friends, family etc are no longer playing the active roles in mediating to help couples overcome their challenges. Somewhere along the journey, marriage has lost the attention that society and especially religious leaders had given to it. This is not just a Gambian issue, it is a world issue but Africa suffers the most from it because for the most part, we do not confront such issues with the kind of aggression needed.

With my own experience through pre-marital counseling and my personal voyage in marriage, I have come to accept that marriage is a two-fold journey. Additionally, with our involvement in marriage coaching now, my husband and I have had the opportunity to interact with several pre-marital and married couples and the coaching is heavily centered on two topics; the PURPOSE and BENEFIT of getting married however, this blog will only focus on one topic – identifying the purpose. Because purpose goes hand in hand with vision, that too will be outlined. I am a firm believer that God had a lot to do with what I witnessed growing up (marriages working) however; he also used vessels (people in the society) to share knowledge and wisdom that was beneficial to the sustenance of marriages. I pray that you will find the information useful and worthy of adding to your tool kit.

The purpose of marriage is designed first to fulfill God’s mandate in our lives. Marriage was the first institution that God established on earth and not only did he speak it into existence he also facilitated the process. According to the bible, God first created man (Adam) but felt that it was not good for him to be alone. God decided to create the woman (another human being who is just right for him). He created her out of his ribs for the sole purpose of being his wife and helpmate. Once God brought the two together, it was established that “man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two of them shall become one flesh”. Before the purpose of the union was defined though, the vision for the two of them already existed. In the first scripture in the bible – Genesis 1, it is written that God created the earth and everything in it (plants of all sorts, birds in the air, fishes in the sea, animals of all breed) but realized he needed human beings to manage his empire. So we're told that in Genesis 1:27-28; 2:7-15 & 21-23, God created man and set him over this prestigious office to be the general overseer reporting directly to the creator. He spoke a decree over man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and govern it. Thus, God’s vision and purpose for which he brought man and woman into existence was clearly identified even before marriage existed. Once they were formed and given a reason to exist (vision) to take care of everything created under the heavens, then he defined the purpose for which marriage should exist between a man and woman (to cling together and become one flesh).

Now that we have laid the foundation with the ultimate plan of God, we can get into our personal list of the purpose of marriage. First, I believe that anyone who considers marriage (God’s way) goes about it with the desire to connect with another person of the opposite sex for the purpose of spending the rest of their lives in holy matrimony. This commitment includes sharing destiny, plans and goals with each other. I want to add a side note here that since this union eradicates the possibility of walking a solo journey, it is important that both parties clearly define their personal vision, purpose, plans, goals and expectations and ensure these are communicated to eliminate the possibility of imbalance and disappointment in the relationship after the wedding ceremony is over. 

The other day, I was a participant in a marriage webinar and the speaker shared a couple of nuggets which will buttress my point. He stated that marriage goes through three phases: “Ecstasy” (excitement, infatuation), “Fantasy” (perfection, cuteness), and then “Reality” (when what was once cute and okay now becomes unacceptable). He explained it further by adding that marriage has the “engagement ring” (Ecstasy), “marriage ring” (Fantasy) and “suffer ring” (reality). Thus, it is imperative that before we set on this journey, the vision (known expectations, values, morals, dreams, plans, and goals etc) are clearly defined, communicated, and accepted by both parties.

Besides just laying out a long list of items you expect to get from the relationship or from your spouse, it is important that both parties have sought the face of God and his direction for their lives. One cannot clearly state a vision or identify a purpose for ones marriage if he or she does not understand the plan that God has for his or her life. It is in understanding the journey that one party is called to take in life that he or she can invite the other to join or support him or her. I would like to emphasize that just because you love each other and decide to get married does not usually mean that your goals and plans are going to be identical when you come together. God created each of us uniquely with a specific purpose and for a specific cause on earth. We are called individually to fulfill an assignment over our lives however; when we yield our lives to him, he can show us ways to leverage each other and merge all our plans together. It is even possible that one spouse may be called to walk a purpose that the other spouse does not feel led to embark on however; through union in the hearts, commitment to each other and to the marriage vows, mutual support and prayer, God can reveal his plan to you with specific direction on how you can combine your individual ideas to create a good recipe for your marriage.

Another key reason for marriage to exist should be motivated by the desire to fulfill God’s mandate upon your life (living a legacy). When he created man in the beginning, God had a desire for human beings to have dominion and power. In other words, God’s original plan was for man to leave his imprints on the earth. With this vision in mind, we cannot build a marriage on a temporary plan.  The marriage covenant needs to be entered into with the end in mind. I understand that sometimes the pressure with which we come into the relationship puts a barrier on laying out a good purpose and vision for the union. I remember the pressure that society attempted to put on me when I was single. I remember some of the remarks I endured when they thought the clock was ticking for me. A cousin of mine once said to me: “the beauty of a woman is proven in marriage. Everything you are working to accomplish (high level of education, career etc) is meaningless if you cannot find a man to claim you as his wife”. Those words pierced deep within my soul and I have to admit that if a man showed up that day with a proposal, I may have accepted without much thought and planning. But it does not have to be that way. God knows his plan for every person’s life and as long as you are living your life in alignment with his word and in reverence of him, he will finish what he started in your life in his right season. Until you hear from me again,  I urge you (whether you are married or single) to seek God for his direction, plan, purpose and vision for your life and be ready to present that plan to your spouse when the opportunity presents itself.


      Margaret Ellis

Margaret Ellis is the author of “West African Perspective”. She is a Gambian native, speaker, marriage coach and blogger who enjoys sharing her rich heritage with the world through her writing, speaking, ministration, teaching, and relationships just to name a few. Margaret can be described in many ways however; she is known to many as being passionate, driven, nurturing and a mentor who always seeks opportunities to learn and share her knowledge with others. She is constantly motivated by an empowering statement she once heard which stated: “..God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you're a person of influence and a person of purpose, you can rise up out of any situation”. 

Website: www.classikkitchen.com 

Email: info@classikkitchen.com

7 Ways to Help You Do What God Asked You To Do

By Oluwadamilola Oshodi

Hay friend!

This past two weeks for me has been pretty interesting. Preparing for exams. gross.  Trying to figure out my life, even grosser. Trying to wrap my mind around God using me as a mouthpiece… interesting. Let me explain. This past Wednesday I held a fellowship on campus, talking about having an authentic relationship with God, what tools to use to build this relationship etc. It was a lot of fun to talk with others, hear other people’s journeys and struggles and how they meet with the lord. It was a humbling and eye opening experience in which I’m glad the lord used me to be apart of. Honestly, I’m grateful.

But let’s be real.. Getting to that point was not all good and dandy. There were a lot of mind games going on. Can I get real with you? There was some doubt, lack of confidence that I had to battle within myself. Voices telling me it’s not worth it, don’t bother, no one will come. blah blah blah. Circumstances, even the day of, distracting me from being comfortable in achieving the goal. So many perceived issues. But I’m here today to share with you some lessons I learned that I believe will benefit you to actually doing what it is God sent you to do. Through the obstacles, the job will still get done, when its’ a God idea. So here we go! The 7 ways to help you do what God asked you to do:

1.Be Intentional About Making the First Step

So the idea had been in your mind now. You feel that God is asking you to do something. You have prayed about it and gotten your conformation.. Now what? Let your mind be focused on actually doing that first step. You know what it is. Whether you need to plan an event or talk to someone. The first step may be to pick up the phone and dial a number. Literally. Or make a format for an event. I tell you this, when you can just make the initial step, and do it with the purpose in mind, the rest will become so much easier to do.

2. Whatever Vision or Feeling the Holy Spirit Has Put on Your Mind and or Heart, Let that Be Your Game Plan.  

God gave us an imagination. It allows us to dream things. Things we may not believe are possible. Don’t let that imagination go to waste and don’t ignore it. I feel the way the Holy Spirit communicates is by giving you a continuous picture of the task you have. Or pressing a certain type of urgency to do something or call someone on your heart. I say if it’s a recurring theme, don’t sleep. That’s probably God communicating with you. This for me is a clear indicator God is speaking to me about something or someone. Maybe I need to talk to someone and their face and the convo keeps coming up in my head and whenever their name is mentioned, my heart feels something.

Use whatever inspiration he is bringing forth to be a driving force for what steps you will take to achieve the goal. The human mind is a powerful tool. The trinity knows this. As well as the heart. Trust what God is showing you continuously.

3. Tune Out the Negative Voices (the Enemy) 

There will be a million and one things convincing you what you are doing has no value. That its stupid, no one will show up, it’s going to be awkward. People don’t like to talk about deep issues. Leave that person alone, they won’t listen anyways. They are not on your level etc etc…. Let me tell you something. Rebuke them and keep it moving. When God ordains an event or what my friends like to say, a Holy Spirit appointment, trust me, the timing is always right. The person or people will be put in the position to listen, because God has been working on them, for that moment. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy.

I remember at one point my mind felt like a tunnel. All the voices were shouting loud that stop doing what I’m doing but it was as if I was walking through this tunnel. Trying to get to the goal. I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I SHALL FEAR NO EVIL. Get in the habit of binding these spirits, rebuking them and keeping your plans going. Bind and rebuke. Bind and rebuke. They know what power you behold if you do what God is asking of you, but do you know? They are scarred of you… don’t be scarred of them.

4. Keep Your Eye On the Goal

Stay focused. What is main goal God wants you to achieve? Focus on that. Always. The plan you and the Holy Spirit have created is in the works. God had breathed his breath onto your words and actions. Life is being produced by what you are asked to do! Stay focused, God never left.

5.Tell A Trusted Friend(s) 

Some may agree and others may not. But this worked for me. For me, I surround myself with Christian men and women. Those who are actively pursuing the heart of God. Therefore, when led, I feel comfortable telling them my plans. They were awesome encourages of what my fellowship was about. Also, I don’t like going back on my word. Therefore, they held me accountable. I can’t create all this hype and then fall through. That’s not a good look. Plus, they provided their resources when they could to help me achieve the goal. God’s help comes in various forms. Whether it is encouragement, or the kick you needed to continue. Take him up on his help, no matter what form it comes.

6. Remember God is Not Using You For Your Own Benefit

10 times out of 10, what God asks of us is to benefit others. The article you may need to write, the conference you need to plan, the song you need to sing, The conversation you need to have, is all for others. Therefore, take yourself out of the equation. This was one thing I have to always remember. If I don’t do this, who will be affected? Push the feeling of fear aside, and worry and focus on those who you are reaching. Always remember, people are waiting on your obedience. No matter how small you think the task is, trust me, if God asked you to do it, its significant. It’s not about you.

7. If One Person Was Touched, You Have Done Your Job

Think about this… You may have put on a whole event, for one person. Just ONE. I literally had to pray to God through all the doubt that, if one person is touched by this conversation, let me be satisfied. God will use whoever is available to do a job. He will use you to fetch the 1 sheep that left the 99. Real talk. You have to be ok that even if you expected 20 people to show up and only 5 do, those 5 people were meant to be there. I invited God knows how many people to my fellowship. Some, who promised, never came. Those, whom I didn’t expect to come, showed up. It varied, but if one was catered to, I’m cool with that.

Watch God take your obedience and turn it into something great! More people may show up next time. The person you spoke to may not only receive what you spoke to them about but actually start living it out. The song you used to sing that only touched a few, may have everyone rolled out on the floor receiving a supernatural meeting with the Holy Spirit. You don’t know what your obedience will do. Just keep doing it! Plus, you gain more confidence in God. If you did it once, you can do it again. This is faith-building 10x! What has God been asking of you recently that you have started or may be reluctant to start? I’m interested in what those may be. We can encourage each other. Till next time…

Bye Friend! 


Oluwadamilola Oshodi

Oluwadamilola known as Dammy is a 22 year old college student in the city of Miami. She is a photographer, organizer, bible reader, cupcake eater and traveller.

How did she discover Christ? She was 10 years old and met a wonderful woman all the way in England!  who just had the spirit of the lord dwelling in her. Something about her made Dammy want to be like her. God birthed a burning desire to know his word in Dammy which gave her room to have a personal relationship with him. It’s never left since then.

 

Peace In The Storm

BY Shakeisha M. Uzor

“You are lazy and stupid and I want a divorce “. Those were the word that my husband shouted at me. At this point, I was so used to the verbal abuse that his words were of no effect to me, so
I thought. I sat quietly on the sofa trying to maintain my peace. I said a silent prayer to the Lord . “God, please help me to keep quiet”. Talking back only made matters worse, after all I had
nothing to prove. My mind went frantic trying to find a bible verse to hold on to like a person who is drowning desperately needs air. Iquickly remembered the words of 1 Peter 3:1 which read “Wives, respect your husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear”. You see, my husband did not a practice Christianity. We went to church on Sundays, we even prayed together sometimes however he didn’t receive Christ as his savior. My prayers for his salvation were a top priority for me. I spend months pleading with God to restore happiness to my marriage and save my husband. I wanted him to know and love God as much as I did. No, I wasn't a perfect wife, I had flaws and short comings but I had the help of the holy spirit and strong convictions when wrong.

I could clearly see that our marriage was heading for a cliff, I waited for months with relaxed anticipation to see who would be the first to jump. For 2 long years, my life was a living nightmare however, I was not ready for it to end just yet. We had 3 beautiful children who hopelessly needed their parents, so I entertained the thought of staying married for them. We went to numerous counseling sections with our pastor, I read tons of books on marriage and relationships but nothing I tried seemed to work. Things continued to get progressively worse until one day, it happened. Loud arguments over mundane issues entertained theneighbors once again. Insults thrown with precision like darts to a bulls eye. I could discern the presents of violence in the air so l attempted to flee, then the worst happened. Shattered bones, broken hearts and a ride in an ambulance was the order of the day. I constantly asked myself why? How could he do this to me? What have I done to deserve this? Over time bitterness and anger became my daily bread served with a tall glass of regret. I hated him with a passion and I begin to map out my exit strategy. I despised the very thought of divorce but I couldn't stay married to an abuser… No Never. Deep down in my heart I still loved him and wanted to forgive him but I couldn't, until one day in anger I cried out to the Lord saying “Lord, how could you just sit back and allow this to happen to me”? Haven’t I been a good servant to you? Haven't I been a good wife and a good mother to my children? Where did I go wrong Lord? The response that I received from God still blows my mind till today. God said to me “I allowed your to experience this in order to humble you and produce fruit in you”. I was totally confused until the Holy spirit reminded my me of Romans 5:3-5 which says “3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. All I could say at the that point was “wow”. I learned a valuable lesson that night. Sometimes our God in His infinite wisdom will allow unfavorable circumstances to befall his children in order to produce spiritual fruit of endurance, hope, character, or love. That night, I forgave my husband from my heart. Slowly, I began to resume my wifely duties and slowly the conversations about what had on that awful day took place. As we talked, I could feel the tangible presence of God. All of a sudden, the tears fell and my husband embraced my with great passion as one million heart felt apologies filled the atmosphere. He asked for me to pray for him to receive Christ for forgiveness of his sins so I happily agreed. We prayed and cried for hours in end until the work of the Holy spirit was complete. Promises were made, broken hearts were mending and that day marked the beginning of our marriage restoration process.

Over one year later, my husband and I are madly in love. God has done a complete personally transformation in him and he no longer resembles the man he used to be. I will never forget the moment that almost caused me to divorce that man of God my husband turned out to be. I will forever bear that surgical scars as a reminder of how God turned what was the worst time in my life into a beautiful testimony of grace, restoration, and redemption. I would like to take this time to encourage you. If you are married and experiencing tribulation in your marriage, be strong, be prayful, and more importantly, be quite. Many women add salt to the already injured pride of our husbands when were go toe to toe with him in an argument. There needs to be a calm in the mist of a storm and that calm needs to come from you. Never pay him evil for evil, even when he doesn't deserve it, show him love. Cook his favorite meal right after a heated argument and watch how he will apologize. When he fusses, throw on something sexy and watch all his worries go away. It won’t be easy, you may cry sometimes but know that God is with you and he heard your prayers. If you know that God had ordained your marriage, don’t give up. You have to P.U.S.H (pray until something happens). Have patience, have faith and rely on God's word for comfort in you marital storm. Trouble don't last always, joy will come in the morning. Wait for your joy.


Shakeisha M. Uzor

She is a 29 year old mother of 3, a living wife, and a woman odb purpose who is passionate about her wisdom and life learned lessons to empower women worldwide. She is devoted to living a Christ-centered life and promotes virtue, holiness, and purpose in the lives of inner city teenage girls.
 

How Accepting Our Feelings of Inadequacy Can Really Build Up Strength

BY LOUISE DES BORDES

Why are several Christians today afraid of delving deeper into the roots of their personal inadequacies(character flaws which lead to sin and unbelief such as bad habits, secret sins, temporary bouts of fear…etc.)?

We live in a day and an age where we’re inadvertently taught by our growing culture, to mask our inadequacies; Pretending to have the happiest relationships when our marriages are crumbling. Assuring ourselves that our families are intact when our children are really wayward. Speaking ‘life’ over others when we’re secretly fighting the same demons. Preaching Purity when we’re struggling with lust.Telling others and ourselves that, God is good to uswhen we’ve got a mounting bitterness towards Him because of growing failures. If God could expose the condition of some of our hearts, some of us would never imagine how we might perhaps be an argument away from years of developing unforgiveness or a tragedy away from cursing God and developing a suicidal spirit. We basically refuse to let others know that we may be going through a wilderness period because we fail to admit it to ourselves, first and foremost. We pile up imperfection upon imperfection; inadequacy upon inadequacy, hurt upon hurt and mask them under the best religious guise; ‘I am Blessed and Highly Favoured’

Masked inadequacies, which are never dealt with, create a forever broken spirit and a crushed heart.

So why do some Christians mask their inadequacies?There can be several reasons, several of which are intricately intertwined with our personal lives and experiences but one thing is for sure, the culture we live in plays a major role in this. Images on TV, tweets, Facebook post and pictures and other cultural trends bombard us daily with "perfect" images about perfect people, and their perfect jobs, perfect spouses, perfect marriages, perfect gifts and overall the overt false representations of a 'perfect life'. No wonder people never linger towards 'imperfections' anymore because we're too busy trying to make our lives 'perfect' for people to see that we've got it all together...when most of us are crumbling within.

One of the dangers in succumbing to the practices of this culture is that we're a society that is losing touch and dare I say, has lost touch with the true essence of Character, and developing our characters in Christ.Hear this: Living under the false assumption that you've 'arrived' does not speak of your character but rather validates you as another social media statistic.

However, our inadequacies can be viewed as a blessing in disguise when we begin to perceive them in the light God’s Word. Now this word "blessing" is used, not in the sense where one embraces their weaknesses and tells themselves that they can never do better, but a blessing in the sense that God has never waited for a better opportunity to show you how much He loves you, how much He wants to work in you, heal you, restore you, and once again glorify Himself through you.

How can we allow God to work through our deepest fears, closet prayers and personal struggles? We need to go back to being authentic with God...Moses gives us one of the best examples of someone whose growth in character progressed only through his full dependence on God. The man was practically a coward without God. He cried to God, doubted God even tested God but in the end, God worked through the authenticity of His weaknesses and his consistent faith to give him true victory. Moses, one of the most insecure and inadequate men became a Winning man in the eyes of God. You know, the kind of victory that is talked about generations after his death. That kind of victorious legacy, which exists beyond time. Moses was real. The kind of real that promises you Eternal victory. Victory in his heart, mind, spirit and in the Heavenly realm- True Victory. We must take note that victory, however, is not synonymous to perfection as were so often bombarded with. Victory comes from within and translates itself externally. A victorious person produces good fruits, has character, doesn't live for themselves but for people and leaves a legacy in their sphere of influence and beyond.

When we shift our gaze from self-consciousness to God-consciousness and decide to stop with the pretenses and face our Goliaths head on, we come to realize that these inadequacies create an opportunity for Him to extend His grace towards us and eventually reveal His glory in us. It simply gives us a greater testimony of His power.

We must all embrace our feelings of inadequacy so that God can work through the skeletons in our closets and ultimately build our Character. As Paul shares with us in Romans 53-5, we should always rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


Louise des Bordes

Louise des Bordes has a Passion for young women, and desire to see all women walk in confidence, power, wholeness and the fullness of their redefinition in Christ. She is the Founder of Eve Redefined Ministries, primarily a Christian conference ministry for young women, the mission is to inspire young women in Africa to lead full, authentic and empowered lives in Christ.

 

The Media’s Distortion of Love and What Love Really Is (From a Biblical Perspective)

BY KATELYN NOWOCIN

What comes to mind when you think of love? Do you think of romantic gestures, pure bliss, lots of laughter, pleasure or that feeling of “butterflies in your stomach?” Romantic movies and other media sources distort love and denote it as being sing-songy, rarely marred by conflict, always joyful, continuously exciting and on a ‘high’ all of the time, but that’s not the reality of what love is. These images have major impacts on people’s expectations and idea of what true love really is. Our culture values intimacy and connection above all else. It glamorizes relationships as being the primary path to happiness and success.

People’s relationships are becoming more and more selfish rather than what Christ intended for it to be, which is selfless. Christ teaches us that love is not what you can do for me, but it is what I can do for you. Ephesians 2:8 states that “it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” In other words, there’s nothing that you can do to earn or denounce Christ’s love; He loves you regardless of your works. Just the same, we must love others whether it’s easy to love them or not. This is the standard the Christ has given us: to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mathew 5:44). True love is serving the other person and encouraging them to flourish in their God given potential. True love is not always pretty, but it’s always worth it. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). True love is sacrificial. True love is purposeful. True love is the most powerful tool we have. It is written, “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).

What is Love?

Today in our culture love is the only thing that seems to matter. Love is definitely a beautiful thing, but have you ever wondered why so many people seem to fall out of love? It’s because they were mistaking their feelings and emotions to what love actually is. Regardless of what society tells you, love is not a feeling or an emotion, but a choice. I’m sure Christ didn’t feel like dying on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven but He chose to regardless. He did it so that we could be set free from death and have eternal life in Heaven with Him. As Paul Sorensen suggests; “our world says here and now is the greatest good and making myself happy is paramount. Biblically, love is about loving the other person and giving to them.” For it is written that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). So though we weren’t worthy of God’s love for us, He sacrificed Himself for us. This is true love at its core!   

1 John 3:16-18 states “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” This is one of the best illustrations of what love is in the Bible! It is clear that love is an action, for it cannot be measured down to just words. Love is not a feeling; love is a conscious decision that you make. It’s not always going to be easy to love others, but we must do so because we do not represent ourselves but Christ. Just like how Jesus says in Luke 9:23 that “if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,” we must do the same when it comes to loving others. Here’s a scenario: your husband has had a really bad day at work and he wants to talk to you/ needs your advice, but you’re way too tired and all you want to do is go to bed, what do you do? You better believe that you are going to deny yourself, listen to him, see how his heart is, encourage him, pray with him and not go to sleep until he is better! This is what true love is. Just the same, the word of God says “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). This is a huge commitment, but this is what true love is! On that note, we will get into the roles of husbands and wives another day! The point in all of this is that there’s a lot more to love than excitement and thrill-there’s a God-given purpose to love.

Below are some powerful verses about love:

·         And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

·         Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

·         Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)

·         Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)

·         The second commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. ’There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31)

·         In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself (Ephesians 5:28)

·         However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33)

·         Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12)

I love what Paul Sorensen says about love: “your life as a believer in Christ is to strategically give yourself away for the Kingdom of God.” Love is putting someone else’s needs before your own, like Christ did dying for us. We should all strive to love one another like Jesus. So as you celebrate this weekend, remember what Christ did for you and what dying on the cross represents. It represents freedom through sacrificial love. We must do the same with our actions towards one another. I will thus end this post with my favorite verse about love, which illustrates perfectly the definition of love. So what is love you ask? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


   Katelyn Nowocin

Katelyn is a 19 year old girl who desires to bring people closer to God and hopes that women will follow God instead of their hearts.

Remain Blessed!