However, I’m not a child-orphan but an adult. Nevertheless, when my mother died last year, I felt alone in the world. Even though I have my husband, even though I come from a large family.
I was faced with the stark reality that there would be no more mum to turn to, to share my news and notions, to share my problems and prayer requests.
Even though, if truth be told, things had not been quite the same since mum fell victim to Alzheimer’s disease; and even though towards the end of her life-span, mum was not the strong, independent woman I’d known; at least she was alive, at least I could enjoy some form of connection.
Now her death, our physical separation, left me feeling adrift in the world – without parental anchor.
Is this how mum felt when my father died unexpectedly—left alone with 7 children, in a country that was not her own, that did not really want her? Did she feel somewhat adrift without her spousal anchor, adrift upon the cruel tempestuous seas of grief and bewilderment?
Is this how the disciples felt after Jesus’s death? Adrift from He who had anchored their life to purpose, to identity?
Thank God that was not the end of the story for any of us (my Lord’s disciples, my mother, myself). Contrary to our emotions and initial perceptions, we were not left alone in this world.
Christ’s resurrection from the dead has given us hope and that hope serves as an anchor for our soul. Christ’s resurrection has given us new purpose, a new identity—Kingdom purpose, Kingdom identity. And whenever we need guidance or direction or help, or whatever, we have only to ask.
Whether orphan or not, as children of God, as purpose-driven believers, we are not alone in this world.
Ahoy there landlubbers!
I have a message for you today. I’m not hiding it away in a bottle in the hopes that one day it will be found. Oh no! I’m shouting it loud from the top of my lungs. I’m displaying it clearly from the top of Christ’s mast.
Whatever my circumstances, whatever my concerns, since Jesus is with me and has promised never to leave me—then I am not adrift!
As many of you are aware, my heart’s desire is to encourage you to live our best life as a purpose-driven believer. When I read this post fragments of a song came to mind however I cannot recall all the words, or even how it begins. The words are: ‘It’s not about me Jesus. . . ‘
This is a long post but well worth reading to the end, so I encourage you to do so.
Colossians 3:1-3 (NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
I used to work with someone who professed vehemently to be a Christian. In theory, the confession was absolutely true. This person would tell others that God was in control… which He is. Serving in church attending all the services and sharing the experience. Feeding the soul with the Word and good teachers – conversationally this person was living the life. However, at work this person was not a…
Those of you who have read my posts for some time know that every now and again I share something from an excellent devotional resource that I use, the UCB Word for Today, written by Bob & Debby Gass.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Even if you don’t get on with daily devotional books (for a long time I didn’t!), you can read it as a straight forward book, or dip into it from time to time (as I started out doing). Before you know it, I’m sure you’ll become a fan (as I have!).
The following is an extract from last month, which I feel led to share with you all.
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MIND-SETS ARE patterns whereby your mind automatically operates a certain way. That means you can set yourself up for misery by reacting to the same people and circumstances in…
I hope you won’t mind if I indulge in a little self-promotion.
Out of the blue I received an invitation to write a guest blog post for ‘StylishlyInspired’ and this has been published today.
Do go along and visit her site and support me with your comments and likes (if so inclined).
Thanking you in anticipation!
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
I am honoured to have been asked to write this guest post. It’s been a long-held desire of mine that God use my writing to speak into the lives of His people, particularly women in the Body of Christ, so when the invitation was given, I immediately asked the Lord what he wanted me to say. Out of the blue, a story came to mind. I’d not read it for a while and hadn’t really considered it to be particularly inspiring, so God’s prompting took me by surprise.
I therefore trust this post will provoke you and speak to you wherever you are at in your relationship with the Lord. I pray it will not just be another post that you read (hopefully enjoy) and then forget—but that it will challenge, even change you.
Many of you reading this post will be familiar with Rick Warren’s inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life. And those of you who have followed me for a while, will be aware that it is this book that has motivated me to live a life driven by, or in accordance with, God’s purpose for my life.
Grasping the opportunity that Lent affords, I’ll be using Warren’s guide-book to embark upon a 40-day spiritual journey. During this time, I’ve decided to tailor most of my posts to my thoughts and observations along the way.
Have you been meaning to read, or re-read this book? Or are you curious to know what your purpose in life is, or what a purpose-driven life entails? If so, why not use this Lent period to draw closer to God, to commit afresh to discovering and pursuing God’s will for your life?
If you do decide to take the journey for yourself, will you let me know in the comment box below? Will you share some of your discoveries, so we can encourage and maybe even enlighten one another?
A copy of Warren’s book may be purchased from Amazon but if you’d like to explore the concept a little more before committing yourself, please visit the author’s official website at: http://purposedriven.com/
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A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
(Proverbs 11:28 – The Message)
Am I pursuing things (material success, recognition, relationships, approval of others, etc) at the expense of pursuing God?
What does a ‘God-shaped’ life look like?
What does God see when he looks at my life – a stump, or a flourishing tree?
Father God, I commit my spiritual journey into your hands and ask that you walk with me and divinely protect me from unseen dangers. Let me not stray into the Enemy’s territory. Direct my paths and lead me into the fullness of your purpose for my life. Help me to pursue you with an undivided heart. I ask this in the name of Jesus.
Valentine’s Day has come around once again and in honour of this season of lurve, I’ve dug up one of my exercises written in response to an old Daily Post word prompt.
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Daily Post Prompt: I want to know what love is
I want to know what love is!
That is the title of a song (I know that much) but it is also the title of my chosen prompt today. I want to know what love is! Thus speaks the person whose question implies that s/he does not know what this universal affection is, for which everybody craves.
Surprising! Has nobody told them that love is patient and love is kind? That it does not boast, it is not proud and it keeps no record of wrongs? (Yes, you heard me right!). Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always hopes and always perseveres! This is the famous quote and reading from 1 Corinthians 13. A firm favourite at weddings.
But this love is no ordinary human love. It is not the filial love between husband and wife or parents and children. It is not the love of two friends. It is much deeper, more sacrificial, and infinitely more precious. It is a God-type of love (the Greek word for it is “agapē”). It is unconditional.
Now this kind of love is marvellous if you are on the receiving end. Not so great however, when you are being asked to demonstrate it to someone mean and ugly of character. Because this brand of love demands that you show it irrespective of whether you feel the recipient deserves it! It is a love that calls for, nay requires you to die to SELF – that self-important, sometimes egotistical and selfish person you see in the mirror! Mark my words, it’s difficult to practice and difficult to maintain—because this love is not an emotional feeling, it is a decision, a choice of one’s will.
No doubt in the above question posed, the writer was referring to fleshly love (eros), the love between a man and a woman. If we consider the question on a basic human level, does the individual really not know what love is – in the ordinary sense, or are they being sarcastic? Are they puzzled? Are they challenging the listener?
I can well understand the question being asked in the context of the enquirer being a jilted lover, a spurned partner, or someone suffering from unrequited love. Oh! If only s/he knew that true love, agapē love, is just a whisper away. A divine, sacrificial love where the lover (God the Father or Jesus His Son) looks at the world and its inhabitants with affection and goodwill for no other reason than that their very nature is LOVE and as such, they cannot help but pour it out in abundantly generous proportions, to whosoever will accept it.
If they knew, (the song’s enquirer and all those asking the same question), if they were aware of the height, depth, width of such generous and incomparable love, available to them for the asking, would they call? Would they open their hearts to this precious quality of love, or would they reject the giver, spurn the prospective lover’s charms and turn away from his love offerings?
Prompt Seven | When You Finally Started “Adulting”
Oh to be a kid again! Except now we’re adults with careers, responsibilities, and other grown-up business. When did you finally start “adulting”? What moment marked your transition to adulthood? What makes you feel like an adult?
I remember when I turned 18 years old. I thought “Yes! I have the key to the door”. And then when I turned 21 years old, I thought “Oh Yes. I’m a true adult now”. At 18yrs and 21yrs, I may have been viewed as an adult legally but in reality I was still quite innocent and naïve. Decades later, am I any more adult than I was then? Not absolutely sure!
Of course since receiving that golden key to the door of adulthood, I’ve clocked up significantly more years of life experience—but does that make me an adult in the true sense of the word?
Maya Angelou made the following interesting observation:
I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. ― Maya Angelou
I think she makes a valid point.
Psychologist and author, Robert Firestone Ph.D also seems to support Angelou’s statement. He says:
Most people are unaware that they are conducting their lives more from a child’s frame of reference than in an adult mode. Although men and women mature physically and become more capable in their practical lives, rarely do they achieve emotional maturity.
Oh dear! Perhaps “adulting” and adulthood are two different things. I will however, treat the two terms as interchangeable throughout this post.
To be honest, I’ve never heard the word “adulting” before. Perhaps it is an Americanism. Or perhaps it is an original term coined by our blog challenger. Anyway, I’ll respond to her question according to what I think it means—i.e. those activities and behaviours, which mark ones transition from childhood dependency to adult independence.
I suppose securing my first full-time job was my first step upon the ladder of adulthood. Working 9-5 and earning a wage, made me feel as grown up as my parents. Most of my school friends decided to stay on at school but I was in a hurry to work and earn. I saw it as a definitive move through the door of independence. However, I was still living at home and I was expected to hand over my pay cheque, so the feeling of independence was incomplete.
Moving out of the family home, having to pay rent, buy food and plan meals allowed me to put my foot on the second rung of adulthood. Unfortunately, irresponsibility with money matters meant I found myself in debt and had to square up to the responsibility of dealing with debt collectors, pay back monies owed plus the exorbitant interest, plus still afford the daily costs of living, whilst trying to maintain an independent lifestyle.
That experience introduced me to another rung in the step ladder of adulthood—the discipline of delayed gratification. I promised never to get myself into that situation again. For years I kept that promise. However, when my husband and I moved into our new house, I couldn’t wait to see it furnished and styled the way I envisaged. So out came the credit cards! If my life could be likened to a game of snakes and ladders, I suppose at that point, any adulting ground I’d made was almost completely lost.
My most memorable step into adulthood occurred the first time I went abroad on holiday. I went with my best friend to Morocco and we had a whale of a time. We decided that we didn’t want to go to the usual places like France or Spain, and so chose an 18-30s holiday where the accommodation was in mud huts with thatched roofs, arranged in villages. It was called Camp Africa!
When we first planned this we were both so excited. But I recall my mum and an insurance man (who perhaps wasn’t very happy about me cashing in a policy to pay for the holiday), putting severe doubts in our minds about the safety and salubriousness of our country choice. As it turned out we need not have worried. We had a fantastic time and I can honestly say, it was one of the best holidays of my life.
My next significant move up the ladder of adulting, came when I got married. Setting up a home with a husband and learning to live together, learning to say “we” instead of “I”, learning to consult instead of independently making my own decisions, learning to become a united two rather than a solitary one, were part and parcel of that ascent. I’d like to think that I’ve moved up several stages in the curriculum of covenant relationship and marital harmony but since marriage is a life-time education, I’m probably still some way off from achieving my certificate of distinction!
My latest rise up the ladder of adulthood came when my dear mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. For several years I had to effectively put my personal life on hold, in order to be there for her as a part-time carer, whilst still holding down a full-time job. And then this year my wonderful, supportive husband gave me leave to take a sabbatical from work in order to look after mum full-time, since I did not want her to go into a home. Sadly, my mother became quite ill and died in hospital in September this year. I wrote a post at my other blog called ThePolitics of Hope, sharing my thoughts and emotional struggles during this time, which you may be interested to read.
And so, it’s here that I now pause on the ladder of adulting, whilst I determine my next move, or wait for another chapter of life’s vicissitude to unfold . In terms of emotional maturity, I know I have a long way to go. But I do believe that even in this area of weakness there has been some discernible growth.
Thank you dear readers for listening. I appreciate you taking the time to hear me out and trust I did not bore you!
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
As a follower of Christ and a purpose-driven believer, I want to live my best life possible. I want to glorify God, honour his name and pursue the purpose ordained for my life. I am aware that I cannot achieve this on my own. I not only need God’s assistance, I also require the help of others. There are people (past and present) who will play (or have played) a part, whether minor or major, in helping me to accomplish my dreams and fulfil my God-given purpose. To those people I owe an inestimable debt of gratitude.
Amongst those people are two who are dear to my heart—my mother and my very first pastor and father in the faith, Archbishop Malachi Ramsay. Both have now gone on to be with the Lord but both in their individual ways made a significant impact upon my life and left a valuable legacy in terms of my spiritual walk with God.
Just as in the natural, the first five years of a child’s life are fundamental in helping to shape them into healthy and competent adults, so I believe the early years of a Christian convert’s life determines their future spiritual development, competence and maturity.
And so I thank God for placing both these commendable individuals early on in my Christian walk. I thank God for their:
unswerving commitment to Christ,
passion for the lost,
fervency of spirit,
excellence in service to the Body of Christ,
diligence in the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer,
willingness to teach and model their spiritual convictions to others.
I also want to thank God for their exemplary input into my life, which has helped shape me into the Woman of God I am today.
Are there people to whom you owe a debt of gratitude? People who have perhaps prayed for you? Friends who stood with you in good times and bad? People who believed in and encouraged you? Folks who have invested time, perhaps even money in you? Have you thanked them? Are you continually grateful to God for them?
PDA followers and visitors, let’s take care that we don’t undermine verbal expressions of gratitude with behaviour that sends a contradictory message!
MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.
Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts. Please check out her blog and if you’d like to join in – see Jacqueline’s “Thinking Corner” (Tuesday Trickles) for further details.
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“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
(George Bernard Shaw)
Today, my thoughts turn towards communication and how we, as purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, can become more effective at communicating with others.
I believe communication is the life-blood of relationships. Customers and retailers, husbands and wives, parents and children, politicians and constituents, all rely on effective communication (the exchange of words and non-verbal clues), to make themselves understood.
Whether the relationships in our life flourish or die, depend upon our communication skills. Show me a relationship where the parties refuse to speak to, or trade insults with one another, and we can pretty much deduce that the said parties are in strife, or are indifferent to one another’s feelings. This type of behaviour amounts to dysfunctional communication. This type of behaviour undermines success.
So how can we improve our communication skills? The following are a few practical tips that I believe will enhance our ability to relate positively with others.
Use your words to build—whether bridges, self-esteem, or understanding. Avoid the temptation to exchange insults or putdowns. You not only diminish the person at whom your barbs are aimed but you also diminish yourself.
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. (Yehuda Berg)
Be engaged in the moment. Are you listening (both to what is said and what remains unsaid), or merely waiting for the other person to stop talking, so you can have your say? Worst still, do you interrupt someone speaking mid-flow?
Don’t be habitually competitive. Avoid turning social exchanges into a “well, my circumstances trump yours!” scenario. (I’m sure many of you will know someone whose health issues are always worse than yours, or whose house/car/children are bigger or better than yours).
Follow known etiquette in each communication context (e.g. observe personal boundaries when speaking face-to-face and don’t use CAPITAL LETTERS within email).
Be aware that potentially negative signals sent (non-verbally) to your audience, may unintentionally contradict what you say. For example, I recently watched an episode of Come Dine with Me. One of the contestants kept smirking whilst eating a meal prepared by someone he saw as a potential rival. He had already discounted the other competitors.
Everyone around the table noticed it and asked whether he was enjoying his meal, to which he replied that he was. However, the host saw his behaviour as an unspoken and unfavourable comment on her food and, to me the onlooker, the smirks seemed to be a gamesmanship ploy, particularly as the host’s menu was similar to his own.
Again, let me remind you of Tip No. 1. Refrain from sending negative, non-verbal signals to others, as a deliberate put down.
Make appropriate eye contact. Neither stare at someone so intently you make them feel uncomfortable, nor on the other hand, give the person with whom you are speaking, the impression that they’re not worthy of your time. Whilst conversing with others, avoid texting or staring at your phone, looking around at what others are doing, or continuing with your duties.
Be concise in your verbal exchanges, thereby allowing your listener to engage with you in dialogue and ask for more info etc., if they are interested. However, don’t be curt whilst communicating with others. And please don’t commit the cardinal sin of going on and on and on, ad nauseam, because you happen to have a captive audience. In effect, you are saying to your listener(s): in future, avoid this person like the plague!
Smile. You may give others the wrong impression if your face looks hard and unapproachable, or stern and unfriendly. Also, remember a smile makes your voice sound warm and helpful, when speaking on the telephone.
Finally, to my fellow believers, remember God requires us to season our speech with salt (Colossians 4:6) and to keep our lips from speaking with guile (1 Peter 3:10). Furthermore, no matter how articulate, or eloquent we might be, if our communication with others is not expressed with, or motivated by agapē love, then (according to 1 Corinthians 13:1), in the eyes of our Father God, our endeavours are the equivalent of loud, clashing symbols!
Are you guilty of any communication blunders?
If so, which of the above tips will you begin to put into practice this week?
Please share your response to this post in the comment box below. If you enjoyed reading, or considered the above tips to be useful, don’t hesitate to like and share this post with your social media contacts. My thanks in anticipation!