Posts by lighthouse

starting-over

Starting Over

I wrote this about a month ago. I realised I needed a break to refresh spiritually and mentally. Sometimes you have to step back to get some clarity.  I am sorry for the silence but I do feel refreshed after Spending time in prayer and fellowship and I really needed it.  If you are feeling like you are in a rut, maybe its time to press reset. Take a break from social media, spend time you’ll normally use on Instagram with God and his word. Reprioritise what matters. You’ll be amazed. It’s a new month, its the perfect time to start over.

In 2015, I had an experience that changed my life forever. After 42 weeks being pregnant, I gave birth to my daughter Apphiah who died within a few hours in this world. The experience was devastating but through it I became free to express to the world my love for the God who pulled me through. I became a golden girl, everyone wanted to interview me, talk to me, hear me speak and minister. I was soaring and on fire for JESUS CHRIST.

Then in 2016, I gave birth to a completely healthy and perfect baby and I was so happy. I put in all my energy to this special baby. I spent all my waking and sleeping hours with this baby on my mind, Before I knew it, I was too tired to pray, too tired to study the bible, too tired to go to church, too tired to fellowship with others. It was such a gradual decline, I didn’t realise how bad until I had a new challenge and I didn’t even know how to pray. I got too distracted.

How often has that happened to you? One minute your life is filled with Christ and then you get an amazing blessing and Christ stops being your focus. You sacrifice a relationship with the giver of the gift to focus on the gift itself and before you know it, you end up in an abyss. You feel lost, depressed, unhappy and like a failure. These were my emotions anyway. As my relationship with God fizzled out, I got sooo lost, I didn’t know who I was anymore or whose I was. I felt like a zombie.

The reason why your life might seem empty at the moment is because you have let the gift distract you from the giver of the gift. We are so focused on waiting for God to give us that ONE THING that we don’t take time to pay attention to God himself. Our relationship is so surface, we are just in it for what we can get, we pretend to be interested in the giver of the gift but truth is that as soon as we get what we are looking for, we might or might not say thank you and that’s the end of the relationship. Well, until we need something else. And we start the dance all over again.

The irony is that instead of going through this same process over and over again, we can learn as said in psalm 34:10 that those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Imagine if we really chose to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”, won’t it be amazing to see that “all other things will be added unto us?” Matthew 6;33

What is sooo important that it has made us to lose focus on what is most important? For me, it was my son. I was trying to be the perfect mum. I needed to make sure I was doing a good job of taking care of this beautiful gift from God but I was sooooo tired and empty.  Instead of feeling like a super hero mum, I started to feel like a real failure. I started to wonder why I felt like I was losing when I was supposed to be celebrating my biggest win.  Then one day I realised it was because I had lost sight of what matters most which is living your life to please God. Making sure God was number 1. Nothing else is more important, not even my precious baby that I prayed for.

So I had to start over. I had to reconnect. I had to go back to basics. Making God number one no matter what. I had to do whatever was necessary from sleep training my baby to deleting Instagram. I got aggressive. I found the perfect online prayer group. Waking up to pray at 4am in the morning was a choice I made. Bible study? Yes please. WHATEVER IT TOOK.

I wasn’t necessarily asking for anything but to rebuild a relationship I desperately missed. I missed having clear direction. I missed knowing which decisions to take on the little things and the big things. I missed having the peace that comes with being in sync with God. I missed my joy because I started to feel so miserable. SO MUCH I MISSED and I need to take desperate measures to get it back.  Ironically, I started to REALLY enjoy being a mum and a wife. I started to enjoy the gift a lot more when I made the giver of the gift number 1. It gave me perspective and I realised just how blessed I am.

As with every relationship, it is a process. But this is one process I am loving

Restoration

The picture of this car sums up what I am trying to share in today’s post about RESTORATION. I don’t know what you have lost, I don’t know how badly beaten and bruised you may be, I don’t know who told you that you have no hope or that you are too broken. All I know is that I know a GOD that has promised to restore to you. Please don’t stop believing. Take a few minutes to read the post below about my friend who God restored completely from some of the most traumatic experiences a human being can have. Read her story and be encouraged knowing that there is nothing you are going through that God isn’t aware of.

Definition of restoration

1:  an act of restoring or the condition of being restored: such as a :  a bringing back to a former position or condition :  reinstatement the restoration of peace b :  restitution c :  a restoring to an unimpaired or improved condition the restoration of a painting d :  the replacing of missing teeth or crowns

I once lived in Colombia for a year and I met a lovely girl who became a dear friend. Of course as life happens, we lost touch after we both left the country but thanks to Facebook we reconnected. One day my friend sent me a message: she was leaving Nigeria to go for her masters in the UK because she was tired and needed a break. She told me how she had gotten married in 2012 and then gotten pregnant. In 2013, herdsmen in Nasawara killed her husband who was a soldier while she was pregnant. She had her daughter and was trying to cope with her reality when her daughter also passed away. Can you imagine losing your husband and only child in one year? By the time I was speaking to my friend in 2014, she was ready to escape her life and decided to go and do something. Her siblings came together and paid for her to go to the UK to do her masters.

My friend thrived! She finished her Masters with excellent results. Thanks to Facebook, I saw her progress. The next message I got from my friend was that she was getting married. This was in 2016. You can’t begin to imagine my joy and happiness. God is truly a God of restoration. We always think we have hit rock bottom and we don’t know what way to turn. When things get truly difficult, we question God, we wonder why he let us go through it but if you know the God you serve, you will know that often times, after we hit rock bottom, it means we are about to experience a new chapter.  I couldn’t help but admire my friend’s spirit, that instead of sinking into depression and just shutting down, she chose to LIVE. She had so many reasons to stay stuck, to wallow in self pity, to be miserable but she CHOSE TO LIVE.

“God is a God of Restoration

The best part of this story? My friend just had a naming ceremony for her baby. YES!! Two years later, she is remarried and has a beautiful baby. Isn’t God just amazing? God has restored all that was stolen from her and you KNOW that God does abundantly more than we can hope for or imagine (Eph 3:20) so I know this is just the beginning for my friend.

I just want to say this to you, no matter who you are and no matter what you are going through. You will be FINE. God will restore you. He will turn your mourning into dancing. This struggle won’t last long. God has written a great ending for your story. No good story can avoid some form of conflict but it always ends well. Please don’t let this take away what you do have. You are alive, you have hope. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP! Your latter days will be greater than your former days in Jesus Name.

Remember Job: “the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10 NKJV)

To all who mourn in Israel,[c] he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. Instead of shame and dishonor,  you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isaiah 61 NLT)

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS

I recently got great news that one of my friends is pregnant with her second baby. My joy knew no bounds; you would have thought I was the one carrying the child. I was soooo excited that I made my super cool friend uncomfortable. lol. Of course every pregnancy and every child is a blessing but this one was even more special because it was completely unexpected. Her first child was not even a year old before she got pregnant with the second. What many people didn’t know was that her first pregnancy was a battle and her baby was a miracle baby. How else can you explain it when my friend bled throughout the entire pregnancy and had giant fibroids so her baby’s head was wedged between those fibroids and she couldn’t move? But guess what? Our miracle baby SOMEHOW came out PERFECT. The odds of my friend even getting pregnant the first time were slim and when she called her doctor to say she was pregnant again, the doctor told her it was impossible. But what is impossible with man is OVER POSSIBLE with God and now my friend is in her 3rd trimester with her second baby. LOOK AT JESUS.

I asked my friend how she manages to stay positive during these pregnancies considering the odds against her and she told me: “I just stay positive, only have positive conversations, I don’t condone negativity”. It got me thinking about the word of God and how we are told: “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8 nkjv)

It is a choice. The same way we MEDITATE on all the negative situations we face and we go over it again and again, is the same way we can CHOOSE to meditate on the positive and things that are praise worthy.

A lot of women call me and email me AND send me social media messages about their frustrations and how they have been trying to have children unsuccessfully and I always give the same advice: Change your focus, change your thinking. Instead of focusing on how miserable you are and how unfair it is and how God isn’t answering your prayers, choose to be positive instead.  I remember after having a miscarriage, my doctor told me I was not allowed to cry because that is what satan wanted. He instructed me to LAUGH instead and choose to be happy and I did just that: I had a full on praise party after I had spent a couple of days crying and wallowing. No one even KNEW I had a miscarriage and a month later I was pregnant again. One thing I have learnt is the power of our thinking. I believe my friend’s attitude played a huge role when she got pregnant again. She didn’t waste time worrying about the possibilities of having a second child, she just chose to be grateful for what she did have and God surprised her beyond her expectations.

My question for you today is this: “What is your mind focused on?”

I know it seems easier said than done but guess what? God won’t respond to a pity party but a praise party. Try this: When you see your period, instead of bursting into tears, burst into song and start praising God for your babies, for your husband, for your health, for a roof over your head, for great friends, for Christ who died for you. Turn a PITY PARTY INTO A PRAISE PARTY and see if God won’t surprise you. Don’t waste energy lingering on the disappointment, spend it on positivity. I know you really thought that job was THE job and you were over qualified for it but don’t waste energy questioning and questioning, use that time to think about how amazing you are and thank God for saving the perfect job for you.

The other day I was boiling water in a whistling kettle. I stood in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to whistle as indication that the water was hot enough. I waited. I waited. I waited. AND WAITED. NOTHING. It was like the water was taking 50 years to boil, so I decided I will do other things while I waited instead of just watching a kettle. Guess what happened? As soon as I picked up a broom to start sweeping, I heard the whistle.

It’s the same thing with us, when we take our eyes off our problems, no matter what they are and change our focus to something positive and praise worthy and change our thinking, We will begin to see those problems disappear and see the manifestation of our blessings.

Another key thing my friend told me was that she keeps her words positive. What are you saying during your times of frustration. Are you speaking as someone who is already defeated or a victor. Every time I am in a negative space and I am expressing it to my husband, he always cautions me to be careful what I say because to me it might be just me being honest but our words carry weight and the more we speak in negativity the harder it’ll be to see our blessings. My friend does NOT allow any negative news near her, she won’t hear it and she’ll let you know. So please instead of going on and on about how hard things are, focus on how great they also are and speak positively. As the bible says: “out of the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45)

Why don’t we try it this time and see what happens? Genuinely meditate on those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of good virtue and most importantly praise worthy. You are not allowed to complain about ANYTHING this week. Let us see what happens when we change our focus. By the way, it won’t be easy, distractions will come, you will have legitimate reasons to wallow in self pity and enter the negative, but through that, FIGHT TO REMAIN POSITIVE.

“You are not allowed to complain about ANYTHING this week”

“Friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse…Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Philippians 4:8 msg)

RIGHT STANDING = FREEDOM

I sometimes worry that I am not expressing myself enough.  This is one topic I really really hope someone is encouraged by. I hope this sets you free from the burden of guilt and shame you have been under. I hope you understand that Christ died to set you free and it is not by your works that god blesses you but by his grace. I hope you know that God sees you way better than you see yourself and he has given you right standing with himself so STOP beating yourself up. Enjoy his love and accept the freedom it comes with.

 

I used to be a bit of a wild child. If anyone went to Uni with me or knew me then, they’ll confirm this. Being a wild child of course came with consequences I won’t even begin to get into. I recently bumped into someone who knew me from my university days and his words were: “you have really changed o, you seem to be like a mother Theresa these days” and I knew he didn’t mean it as a compliment. I was a bit offended to be honest but in hindsight, I can say he was right, I have really changed. Knowing God has changed me completely, there is more to live for, more focus and more purpose and I am so proud of that change.

BUT

As I said before I was a wild one and with that came a lot of decisions and activities that still plague me every day. It seems no matter how much I know God has forgiven me, somewhere deep inside of me, I worry that I am still paying for my past sins. I would sometimes pray and wonder if that particular prayer deserved answering because of who I used to be. Then let us not talk about foundations as well because that one is a whole other book. I come from a polygamous background, my dad is muslim, my mum goes to a white garment church. You do the math.

So mix up all of these things and I had a few nagging questions and fears that sometimes made me wonder if I was in right standing with God and if I was truly worthy to approach his presence. The devil used these things to hold me bound and no matter how much I felt I was growing spiritually and in faith, he would just bring up something I had done and use that to unravel everything I was trying to attain. TRUST ME, I know God’s word. I know Christ died for us and the blood of Jesus has washed away my sins but in the battle of the mind I will confess that I am not sure if I was always winning. When those nagging fears and doubts crept in, I would speak God’s word back but sometimes I didn’t believe them. I can’t tell you how many times the devil would remind me of something I did and I would start asking God for forgiveness for the millionth time (obvious exaggeration here)

Today, God set me FREE!!!! It is so important to spend time with God’s word while asking the Holy Spirit to make it personal for you. God gave me a word that was FOR ME. It was not a verse I hadn’t read before, on the contrary I have read it many times but somehow today, it was like I was seeing it for the first time and BELIEVING it for the first time. Romans 8:28-31:

“ And we know that God causes everything to work together [m for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn [n] among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Today I heard the Holy spirit say to me SO CLEARLY: God chose you, you didn’t choose him but he chose you. He called you to come to him and because he called you, he gave you right standing with him.

Right standing essentially means being righteous. I have FINALLY understood that I AM FREE from every mistake I made. Every foundation I come from. I am SO FREE because the moment God called me, he gave me right standing. This means NOTHING the enemy (YES THE devil) would try to do to make me doubt who I am as God’s daughter can work against me. Sometimes when I prayed, I would worry that my prayer might not be answered because of something I might have done or something from my foundation. I would speak God’s promises and I would wonder if I really had a right to those promises because of my sins and struggles. If I prayed and didn’t get an answer, the devil would immediately remind me that I didn’t deserve one because I am a sinner and remind me of the things I would rather forget.

I realised for the first time really that because God chose me and called me, he gave me right standing with him. This means that when I approach God in prayer, I can approach him freely without fear or doubt because he has given me right standing before him. It means nothing I did can get in the way of his love for me and in him hearing me. This is not because of ME but because HE CALLED ME. It also made me realise that NOTHING I do makes me righteous, ONLY THE BLOOD OF JESUS. Christ has died and it is his blood that enables me to approach God’s throne of grace, I don’t actually just go as Bolatito, I go covered by the blood of Jesus.

I know someone who felt she deserved to lose her baby because she once had an abortion. No matter how many times I tried to explain to her that God forgave her a long time ago and satan was the one using her past sin against her, I could never get through. She said to me she doesn’t feel happy in her life despite having a great job, being married and having kids. The guilt of that abortion continues to plague her and weigh her down. I KNOW there are many people who share her sentiments based on past experiences but I want you to know, the moment you gave your life to Christ, you were set free from every negative experience you have had.

“the moment you gave your life to Christ, you were set free from every negative experience you have had.”

Now let me tell you the best part as written in Romans 8:31-39:

If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This promise is yours, REST IN IT and enjoy the love that God so freely gives to you

For Apphiah

 

I find myself thinking about you a lot my beautiful Apphiah. I watch your brother and you just pop up in my mind. Recently, you have been constantly on my mind. You would have been 2 years old today (Thursday) and Joshua would be 8 months old on Saturday. I wonder what type of sister you would have been, I am going to assume that you would have been a great big sister and friend to your baby brother who is now the CHAIRMAN of the house. I wonder how we would have done your hair for your birthday, would we have gotten cake and done a party or just be cool and not make it a big deal. As I think about you, I marvel at God’s grace.

When God says he turns our mourning into dancing, he was not telling a lie. The timing of your brother’s arrival into this world and the fact that instead of mourning on the 3rd of March, I get to celebrate his 8 months the day after is amazing. It doesn’t make me miss you less but it makes me have peace with your absence. Ironically, we often talk about you and how you would have been the perfect playmate for your brother but I got so carried away with the fact that he’ll be 8 months old on March 4th that it didn’t occur to me that March 2nd was your birthday until Uncle Lamo sent us a message that you are always on his mind. Isn’t God amazing, I never would have thought I’ll forget your birthday.

I thank God for sending you to us. I thank God that we got to spend your very short life with you even if it was only for a few hours. I thank you for opening up parts of me I didn’t even know existed but also for helping me to confront the demons that had kept me bound for so long. In losing you, I gained freedom to see God and know God in a way I won’t have otherwise. I feel you so present in our lives, your brother looks just like you and your Mummy Ly confirmed it when she said : “he looks just like Apphiah”. When he is playing with his toys and having a jolly good time alone I feel you watching him and smiling. I wonder what I can tell him about his big sister and how she saved me. Apphiah: The one who shields. My darling daughter. You are forever in our hearts. Thank you. We love you.

1 2 3 9