“The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.”
— Fay Weldon
Everybody has something to say. It could be a comment on things, a story to tell, knowledge to impart, experience to share. The list is endless! The point is no one is void of expression. Even the dumb has something to say. As long as one is human and can think, there is always something to communicate. In fact, if animals were given the ability to, they’d probably have an opinion themselves (The point is that we all have something to express!)
Not everyone expresses what they want to say however. It’s not like they have a disability or anything. It could be that they are insecure about what they want to say and so they’d rather not talk (But how long can you keep it in?) Also, some people just don’t like talking and prefer to keep things in. Personality can play a big role here.
In psychology, we learn that there are different personality types but there are two basic ones: Extroverts and Introverts. Generally, extroverts are known for being outspoken and well, they like to talk; introverts however are reserved and talk less. They are believed to have a loud mind but are of few words. They prefer to observe even though they might have a number of things to say.
In my case, I often find it difficult to express what I really have to say. I’m an introvert and I prefer to just write what I feel and my opinion of things. I find this fulfilling, like a burden has been taken off me. Sometimes too I don’t make expressions because I’m not sure if they make much sense. It may be one of the reasons I can be very skeptical of showing others what I write.
Beneath all of these however is a desire to share my perception with others and for people to understand them. It wouldn’t hurt for people to know my views. I might be going around with a wrong view and people can correct me, or people can actually learn from my views. Also, there’s satisfaction just letting others in on what you feel.
This blog is my way of coming out and expressing myself.
Take the Bold Step!
So, if you’re like me and you find it difficult to express yourself, I challenge you to take the bold step and just express yourself however way you feel comfortable. If you’ve tried and still find it difficult, you may need to learn how to do it. Writing, for me, is in a way learning how to express myself. The world needs your expression because you’re unique and so is your expression.
This does not mean you should be all crazy in a bid for self expression (if you know what I mean). I believe in moderation. I also believe that reading the right materials, listening to the right things help in our overall expression. The things we see, read, hear all form our thoughts which in turn inform our expression. You may want to take note of these things.
Still, the idea of this post is to come out and express.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
It’s funny, but I can almost remember the year 2009 like it was last year. I wasn’t even in my teenage years then; nevertheless, it seems like it wasn’t too long ago. If 2009 was like last year to me, then 2016 was like last month and 2018 last week. Lol!
What am I saying in this? Time is fleeting! Before you know what’s happening, 10 years have gone by. Ironically, it is still the same 24 hours each day, and the seconds move the same way they have been moving decades ago.
This being said, I remember my secondary school days, and my undergraduate days. I stayed in the boarding school all through high school (and promised myself not to let my children go through the same). As a university student too, I schooled far from home, in a different state in fact.
Because of my introverted nature, I wanted to go back home most times. I ached for the house on several occasions. According to me, home was the only place I could ever be myself.
Due to this kind of thinking, I had a lot of melancholic moments and didn’t let myself enjoy those seasons of my life, but always looked forward to when they would be over. And they were over soon enough because time flies!
I’m older now and I’m really learning about how life happens in seasons; some planned, some unplanned. To really be happy at every given time, it is important to cultivate the habit of enjoying each season. Look on the bright side. Things are not always going to be the way they are; the bible already establishes this. There is a time for everything.
Life is full of times and seasons – childhood, teenage, undergraduate, employee, employer, early parenthood, mid-parenthood etc. Notice how high school students want to be university students quickly, and university students want to graduate. The graduate wants to work, then marriage, then children and on and on.
There is also the season of plenty and that of few, or maybe a loss. Seasons come with different aspects of life. Not all seasons of our lives are desirous; still, there will always be something to be grateful for with each season. And gratitude is one major key for enjoying each season. Be grateful for the things that you have at the moment.
If we live our lives always anxious for one season to be over, then we’d never be truly happy. We’d get worked up by our desire for that season to end. Why not relax, be grateful and enjoy the season. The season would be over before we know what’s happening.
This does not mean that we wouldn’t make plans for the next season; we would plan. However, in the midst of the plans, we need to be happy where we are at the moment. I believe that in God, we find true contentment and peace in each of life’s phase; so, at the center of enjoying each season is God (note: you can read Phil. 4:5-6. It talks about anxiety, taking our requests to God with thanksgiving, and the result this brings).
The benefits that come with choosing to enjoy the season are tremendous. First is peace of mind without constant worries.
Also, all the lessons that are for that particular season will be learned. Each season comes with its own lessons, and peace of mind brings clearer lessons.
In addition, when you decide to just enjoy the season, you’ll make the best use of the season. This brings me back to my secondary school days. A number of students who just decided to enjoy the season got involved in good activities that helped them to become better people.
Enjoying the season really helps us to recognize and utilize opportunities which may be of help in our next season.
Right now, the whole world is in a particular season – COVID 19. And then, there are some specific seasons that each of us may be in. But it’s not always going to be like this. Enjoy the season by being grateful to God for the things you do have, and utilizing all the benefits of this season, having the assurance that things are not always going to be like this.
I just counseled myself. Hope you were encouraged too.
“For you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” (Ephesians 2:10)
In my previous post on this topic, I wrote about the importance of living one’s life for God’s approval, and how it is the best approach to living. This is because when we do things for God’s approval, we know that we are upholding those things that are fair, just and righteous.
One question that I sense a strong need to answer though is “what does it really mean to live our lives for the approval of God?” At least if like me, you decide to live your life not for the praises of men, but of God, you should at least know what living life for the approval of God entails.
For me, living our lives for the approval of God is summed up in two things: loving God with all of our being, and loving our neighbors (i.e. fellow humans) as much as we love ourselves. Jesus said that these two things sum up the entire commandment.
Obeying the instructions/commandments of someone wins their approval. Thus, following God’s command gains His approval, and if God’s command is based on LOVE, then LOVE gains God’s approval.
What does it mean to love God with all of our being? It implies using the strength, abilities, gifts, personality, favor and all that we have been endowed with by God to serve Him and bring glory to Him.
And really, what does this involve? It involves doing God’s will, submitting to Him. Many times this centers on good works: serving others with our abilities, acts of kindness, honouring others, giving light and help to those who have none with the sole aim of establishing the kingdom of God on earth and pointing them to the love of our Father.
To truly love God and want to live for His approval, working diligently with the resources that He has given us, with all our strength and might to do good works is key.
Jesus, while on earth, was said to have gone about doing good works. Jesus was approved of His Father. Why? He did His Father’s will; He loved. How did he show this love? Good works. Even His death for humanity was from a place of love.
Remember that not everyone approved of Jesus’ good works (i.e. the Pharisees and the Sadducees) but this did not deter Jesus from good works, because He knew that He was doing the will of His Father.
(Note: Good works entails a lot of discipline, sacrifice, diligence, humility. All these come from a place of love.)
Now, what does it mean to love your neighbour as yourself? A summary of what this entails is doing unto others as you’ll like to be treated. Be generous, forgive, be selfless, celebrate others. I need to state here that although love is kind and patient, it also does not indulge wrongdoing but corrects it. So correcting in love is not wrong. As long as your actions are motivated by love, then it’s not wrong.
In this same instruction to love your neighbour, something is implied too: Love yourself. There are people who do not love themselves and for this reason, they indulge in some unhealthy practices that end up jeopardizing their health and their lives. We should love ourselves, and love our neighbours just as much.
Love sums it up; love is the fulfilment of God’s commands; Love is who the Father is and is how He operates. For people who are created in the image of God, people who are God’s workmanship, we must express the life of the Father, and God is a God of love.
I believe that choosing to live a life of love and good works with the best of our abilities, by the help of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is choosing to live like the father. This really is living a life of God’s approval.
Deliberately go out henceforth living a life of Love.
…whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. (Colossians 3:23)
Something happened to me not too long ago that made me question the motive behind all my actions. I was not getting the ‘acknowledgement’ that I wanted, and so I started to wonder where I had gone wrong. This was when the question surfaced in my mind, “whose approval are you looking for?”
The desire to be accepted and commended by people, I believe, is inherent in everyone; although, some have heavier doses of this desire. I, for instance, tend to have a heavy dose of wanting words of approval from people.
As a growing child, I always loved to be acknowleged. I did my best to be a ‘good girl’; so that people would commend me: my hardwork, my patience, my understanding nature etc. In fact, it got to a point that I wanted all the accolades for myself, or at least the best one. As a result of this desire, I tried to make sure that I ‘pleased’ people and did the ‘right’ things (or so I thought). I wanted the pat on the back.
My different experiences in life have nevertheless taught me that I cannot always be aknowledged by men. And I have come to learn that I should not do things to get people’s approval. Why?
To start with, it is dangerous to live one’s life to get the praises of men; because sooner or later, one may end up compromising the right standards to win their approval.
Also, living for the approval of men implies superficiality and eye service – not doing things because it is the right thing to do, but because of the desire to be acknowledged or spoken well of. So, even if the right things are being done, if the intention is to get the praises of people; then, it’s wrong. This is a wrong way of living.
Besides, it is pointless living just for the commendations of men, because no matter how hard you try, you cannot please everyone.
Most importantly, in my life as a Christian, I have come to realize that the approval I should really look towards getting is the approval of God. In the end, that is what matters. I am His workmanship. Who is a workman if he is not approved of the one that made it? So, these days, with a big level of consciousness, I am weighing my actions, attitudes in light of my creator. I want His approval.
I must confess that there are still times when I want to do things so that people would recognize and praise me. When the Holy Spirit brings this motive to bear though, I correct my intention. I must not live my life for the praises of men. Sure, I’d feel a level of gladness when people acknowledge me. But even in times like that, I’m reminded that I am doing the things I do as unto the Lord, not unto men.
The beauty of doing things for the approval of God is the certainty of doing only what is right, fair and just, and upholding the standard of God.
In case you’re wondering what it means to do things for the approval of God, it simply is doing all the things that you do in light of God’s will, as found in His word and as led by His Spirit. The first step to doing this is by belonging to Him (be saved). That’s how you will know His will and walk in it.
It is important to know too that doing things for God’s approval doesn’t always come easy for the natural human nature. Nevertheless, doing things for His approval is always the best, and is always for the betterment of mankind. And the Holy Spirit is always ready to help us do this.
I’m not perfect in this. There is still much growth needed for me in this regard; but, the Holy Spirit has been helping.
Trust me; there is true satisfaction and big rewards in doing the things we do for God’s approval.
I am sharing this here because everyone on earth is a creation of God, and more than anything, we should seek the approval of our Creator and bring glory to Him, not men. That’s what really matters.
This week and always, I encourage you to deliberately decide to do what you do as unto the Lord, not men.
The first time I read an article on the necessity of writing; I was an undergraduate in the university. The title of the article was “Write it down”, and the writer stated essential reasons why writing should be done. I was very enlightened and till date, it always serves as a reminder for me, on the need to consistently write.
I have been journal writing for a number of years. Staying at home for some months now has made me to go through some of the things I wrote in my journals from years back, and I’ve had different emotional experiences doing this. I’ve also wondered if I actually wrote those things at a particular age (dates and years are included in my journals).
Writing has been a wonderful experience for me and there are good benefits that come with it too. I’ll be sharing some of them here. My intention is to motivate all to embrace the art of writing.
So, what are these writing benefits?
WHAT YOU WRITE BECOMES IMMORTAL. Many of the things that we know today are from the writings of men based on their experiences, learning or by inspiration. What would have happened if they had not brought themselves to write? We wouldn’t know these things.
I believe that you should write because what you write will always be available; it will always be seen. More importantly, your writing will transcend generations and can be of great benefits to thousands.
You may be wondering, “What do I write?” Well, in our daily endeavors, we have various experiences and with each experience comes lessons. Write those experiences and lessons in a special book. Don’t just think about them or talk about them alone. Writing them immortalizes them.
Also, there are times when a special inspiration or understanding of a particular thing comes to our minds (everyone has moments like this), don’t let it go away. Write it down. It may help you later, or it may help somebody else. Just write; don’t just say it, write it down.
If not for anything, do it for record purpose. Once it has been written down, it lives on.
WHAT YOU WRITE SERVES AS A REMINDER. In Psycholinguistics, a course I took as an undergraduate, I learned about the short term memory and the long term memory. We all have these two memory types.
The short term memory contains things that we use often, and so we can easily recall them; the long term memory contains things that we learn or know but do not necessarily use frequently.
Because of the nature of the long term memory, we may not remember a number of things. By writing them down however, we are reminded of the things that we have learned or experienced over the years.
Writing helps to trigger our long term memory to remember things that are there.
WHAT YOU WRITE REVEALS YOUR PERSONALITY. Writing is one way to really know what we think, how we see things, our perception of the world etc. It reveals our personalities.
In stylistics, we learn that everyone has their idiolect i.e. individual style. This individual style is borne out of our personalities.
Yes, talking exposes who we are too, but there are times we say things that we do not mean. With writing though, we are much calmer and can structure ourselves to express our real opinions.
Reading my past journals has helped me in a large extent, to see how I view things, my thoughts on life and the kind of person I am.
There is no way around it; when you write, it shows the kind of person you are (from your choice of words and sentences).
To learn more about yourself, embrace writing. Trust me; you’ll be amazed by the discoveries.
WRITING HELPS YOU TO STRUCTURE YOUR THOUGHTS. When you write, your thoughts become organised because you want your words to be as coherent as possible.
One thing has to lead to another in the combination of words. This is especially important when you start writing for an audience. You want them to understand your message; so, it has to be well organised.
Frequent engaging in the art of writing makes us think better, logically and would ultimately make us effective communicators.
People that talk haphazardly should embrace writing. Sooner or later, they’ll be able to communicate better.
In conclusion, these are just a few advantages of writing, and there are still more. But I think this should suffice for now. I do hope that I have been able to stir up the desire to write in you.
Before I end, I just want to write that the benefits listed above are from my subjective point of view, and well, from experience. If you have contrary opinions, you can state them in the comment section below.
Also, if you want to add to the advantages of writing that I’ve given; feel free to do so in the comment section below.
You are in the middle of the road, And you have never been more confused. You see different pathways; Some alluring, some shabby. All are beckoning on you, “Follow me to your destination”.
You look at the alluring pathways But you remember the counsel, “All that glitters is not gold” You look at the shabby pathways. Could any of them be the way? Which one do you take? You ask yourself. Why is the way so unclear?
“Follow your heart”, You tell yourself. But you are unsure of what your heart says. You become more perplexed, But you need to make progress.
A pathway draws your attention and you head towards it. All too soon, you stumble and get injured. Before you take any step further in that unclear direction, You head back for the middle of the road.
Now you’re back to the middle of the road. Confused and hurt, you cry out.
Then as though you were previously blind, Your eyes get opened. And you see Him who has been there all along. A ravishing light surrounds Him. And you’re enamored by His beauty and splendor.
He approaches you, And stretches forth His hand towards you. His eyes are full of affection and passion. “Do you care to trust me?” He asks. In Him, you see sincerity, love and wisdom. Of course. You can never make it on your own.
You take His hand. He holds it tightly and smiles. And He shows you the way. Because He Himself is the way.
A QUICK PRAYER:
I pray for as many who are so unsure of life, confused and hurt. I pray for those who have been blinded by the enemy to see Him who is the way. I pray for those looking for directions and answers.
I pray that your eyes are opened to see Him who loves you more than you or anyone could ever love yourself. I pray that you feel His love and trust Him with your life to lead and direct you.
I pray for divine insight for you to see that He is the way that you need. I pray that you see that He is who you need for answers to life’s questions and confusions .
I pray that you see Jesus Christ, the true way, and the good Shepherd who leads His sheep in the right direction in life. Amen.
P.S.: I’m not much of a poet, I just thought I should try something.
Never underestimate the power of a praying mother! A mother’sprayer is heartfelt and performs wonders.
Looking at my life so far, I know that the prayers of my Mom have been of great help, and they are still helping me. My Mom is still praying too. This post is not about me however; it’s about a woman named Olayinka, the heroine of a book by Funke Adaramola, “the Kneeling Mother”.
The Kneeling Mother is a book that portrays the travails of Olayinka, a woman from south-west Nigeria, who loses her marriage, due to her ‘inability’ to bear any male child (as if that’s really her fault); although, she has three female children already.
To make matters worse, ‘Yinka is a government school teacher and an orphan who can barely provide for her children. Her only hope for succor is her elder brother; unfortunately, he dies and she’s left all alone in the world to fend for herself and family.
She moves from ‘frying pan to fire’ and has to result to different odd jobs and borrowing, to augment her infrequent income, to provide for her children.
Life deals with her harshly until she encounters Christ through a tract and a visit to a Church. Soon, she begins to enjoy the peace and joy that come with knowing Christ. She also becomes a prayer warrior, interceding for her children’s future and her environment. This is where she earns the name, ‘the Kneeling mother’.
Her prayerful lifestyle in the long run, brings about deliverance for her and her children from a generational curse. Things then turn around for her and her daughters. ‘Yinka becomes promoted; her girls excel in school and are all given opportunities to study in prestigious universities in the United States. They become respected professionals in their field of study, and they get married to wonderful men.
Olayinka’s daughters and their husbands later take turn in taking good care of their kneeling mother, and her joy knows no bound.
‘Yinka later meets with the ‘husband’ that abandoned her but he is in a despicable health condition and cannot even cater for himself! He eventually dies; fortunately, he is led to Christ by Yinka and forgiven by her and their children before his death.
Ironically, the daughters whom he thought were ‘no good’ (because they were not boys) are the ones who make sure he is well taken care of before his death. They also give him a befitting burial.
This novel may sound like a typical Nigerian story, with a probably too good to be true happy ending; nevertheless, things like these are happening in contemporary times. Besides, the novel has a number of themes, and I’ll be sharing some of them and the lessons that can be gotten from each.
The efficacy of a mother’s prayers. The main idea of this book is to point out the effectiveness of consistent prayers, especially the continuous prayers of a mother for her children. Yinka’s prayers helped in shaping the destinies of her children.
To add to this, Yinka was an upright woman who lived to please the Lord. She served God wholeheartedly after her encounter with Him and God honored her prayers. It’s not enough to be prayerful; God also wants us to live blamelessly. He makes effective the prayers of a righteous man/woman (NOTE: James 5:16)
All children are valuable irrespective of gender. The novel seeks to correct the myopic mindset in Nigeria that a woman needs to have male children. For a long time, women have suffered in the hands of their husbands and in-laws because they did not give birth to male children, when in any case; it is the man that gives the X chromosomes that makes a female child to be conceived.
But the chromosome is not the point. The point is that children are gifts from God, irrespective of gender. Both boys and girls have the ability to excel.
Excellence and societal respect is not for only men. It is for those who prove themselves to be excellent. A woman should not be looked down upon because she has only daughters.
Never trust any man. Olayinka put too much trust in her elder brother, and her elder brother was willing to help her with the best of his abilities, but who knows tomorrow? Her brother died a sudden death.
With no one else to turn to, Yinka turned to the only person that deserved her trust, her creator, God Almighty. And He didn’t fail because He never fails. (Woe to any man who trusts the arm of flesh, but blessed are those who trust God).
Deliverance from generational curses. Many people shy away from the fact that generational curses or patterns are real. However, these things exist, and guess what? They’re not restricted to Nigeria or Africa alone.
Francine Rivers, an American author, wrote two different fictional works (the atonement Child and Her mother’s hope/her daughter’s dream) that depicted the influence of a generational pattern.
In Yinka’s case, she was under the influence of a generational curse by her step-grandmother and this curse was to extend to seven generations! They would all have continued to suffer for what they knew nothing about.
Thank God for Yinka’s deep prayers. She was able to salvage her life, her children’s lives and the lives of the unborn generation.
Christ changes everything. Yinka struggled so much in life, and life was meaningless and unfair to her, until she got to know Christ. He changed everything for her and her generation.
The fulfilment that Yinka encountered was not just from her answered prayers (although that’s a sure bonus for anyone that belongs to Christ). Yinka’s satisfaction was from knowing Christ and living for Him.
True satisfaction, healing and deliverance from destruction are in Christ alone.
A LITTLE OBSERVATION ON THE STRUCTURE:
While the novel is commendable, the area where I think the novel should have been better is in terms of some grammatical expressions.
However, I read an old edition of the book and there is a new edition now. I believe that in the new edition, adequate corrections would be made.
Also, I would have loved it if some of the events could have been more developed than they were. For instance, when things began to turn around for Olayinka, it was like the author gave more of a summary of events that followed.
This notwithstanding, the novel is a good read anytime.
That’s it for my review of the Kneeling Mother by Funke Adaramola. Thanks for reading
Recently, I watched a movie that reinforced some lessons to me about God’s love from the viewpoint of an earthly father’s love. I’d like to share them with you.
In the movie, a woman asked her friend who was a widower, “How can you worship a God who sees all these bad things happen and just allows them?” The woman had suffered a few of life’s hardships; thus, she questioned the love of God for humanity.
In reply to her question, the man used his role as a father to explain God’s love. He told her that He loved his daughter deeply, but his love didn’t stop her from getting hurt sometimes.
According to him, the proof of His love for His daughter was not that she wouldn’t get harmed; but that whenever she did get hurt, he’d be there to comfort her and provide the necessities for her healing.
In other words, God’s love necessarily does not make us immune to adversity; nevertheless, we can be sure that despite all, God is always there making provision for our comfort and healing.
After his words, the woman was able to think over her own life and see that in spite of some sufferings that she had encountered, God’s hand had been with her all along, making sure she was provided for and taken care of.
That short scene got me thinking. There are many sufferings in the world, and there are different kinds of troubles and pain in life. Does this mean that God’s love for humanity is questionable? Here are four lessons about God’s love that were reinforced to me through the scene.
GOD’S LOVE DOES NOT MAKE US IMMUNE TO CHALLENGES. I already mentioned this earlier. Christians too need to know that we are not unaffected by sufferings but we don’t have to go through them alone. God sees these things, He knows these things and He provides comfort for us in all our troubles because He loves us.
Jesus specifically told His disciples that they would have troubles in life but they should take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
The apostle Paul also wrote about the comfort that God gives in times of troubles. This in turn makes it easy for us to comfort one another in time of need, with the comfort that we ourselves have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
The life of a child of God is not one without pain; notwithstanding, God promises succor and victory for His children. Just like an earthly father would care for his child when he/she is in pain.
GOD’S LOVE DOES NOT ERASE OUR WATCHFULNESS. In the movie I mentioned earlier, the man said that he loved his daughter; yet, she could get hurt from time to time. But I told myself that the girl could limit her hurt if she was careful and watchful to guard against injury.
Sure, a good father would give his child instructions on the things to do to guard against being hurt. It is left to the child to either obey the instructions and guard against injury, or disregard the instruction and risk getting hurt.
In a similar vein, the bible is God’s instruction to us. The Holy Spirit in a believer also serves to warn us and give us discernment against hurt. But we must pay attention to God’s word and His Spirit to limit injury.
No wonder the book of proverbs charges extensively on the need for a child to pay attention to his father’s instructions. They limit our hurt (Note also: 1Peter 5:8).
GOD’S LOVE DOES NOT ELIMINATE BEING PRAYERFUL FROM A CHILD OF GOD. All humans, especially God’s children have an adversary who seeks our hurt and destruction; nonetheless, by praying to God; we are asking for His supernatural help to defend us against the enemy.
Prayers build our strength in God, and when we pray, we invoke the hand of God in our affairs and thus, damage from the adversary is limited.
A father will always answer his child when he asks him for help. However, if the child does not ask him for help, he may not give it. Still, fathers try to offer their help because they love their children.
God offers his help to us by telling us what we should do and orchestrating things to use to help us. It is left to us to accept His help or not.
One beautiful thing about God is that He is limitless in His ability to help us unlike our earthly fathers who are limited. All we need to do is to ask for His help and accept it and His directions in proferring help to us. (Note: Matthew 7:7-11)
IN SPITE OF GOD’S LOVE, I NEED TO STAY WITHIN MY FATHER’S PROTECTION – GOD’S PROTECTION. Children who have their father always with them do not need to fear harm, because He is keeping watch over them.
Salvation and obedience to God’s word i.e. righteous living, guarantee God’s protection. His eyes are on those who live uprightly. That’s what His word says. (Psalm 34:15, 1 Peter 3:12). Harm is usually limited for those that are within God’s protection.
So, those are the four lessons I relearned about God’s love.
Dear friends, God loves us all and wishes good for us all as a loving Father that He is. Nevertheless, there are things that we must do to maximize the love of God for His children.
Yesterday was Fathers’ Day and I’d like to honour fathers. They deserve to be celebrated. So, to all the fathers out there who are diligently carrying out the responsibilities of fatherhood with all their strength, “thank you”.
Indeed, fatherhood is a ministry that involves a lot of commitment and sacrifices. It is also a design from God to give us a glimpse of His own fatherly affection for us.
Naturally, a father loves His children and will do all that He can to protect them and give them the best. Nevertheless, I believe that to really carry out the duty of fatherhood, there is a need to be rooted in God. It is in Him that the effectiveness that comes with being a father can be accomplished. Otherwise, the enormous task of fatherhood can be burdensome.
That being said, a big part of today’s post is about my biological father.
I don’t have too many memories of my Dad because he left the earth when I was quite young; still, I have a few memories and they’re lovely ones. Here are some things that I can remember.
He was a loving man. My father loved his children and showed it in his actions and words. In fact, the night he left, I remember that I hugged him and we said our usual ‘I love you’ before I went to bed. His love for us also made him very approachable. We could ask him anything. I remember waking up one night to see my Mom and my Dad dancing. I questioned him about it the next day (can you imagine my little mind?) My Dad was so gentle in his reply, “she’s my wife and I love her”. How interesting! I can also remember asking him childish questions about life, rapture etc. He was always ready to give an answer.
He was observant. I can remember different occasions when my Dad would return from work with supplies and utilities that were needed at home without being told about the need. He just observed whenever things were needed or when things had to be replaced and he was sure to do what he could.
He was a disciplinarian. My Dad loved his children and wanted the best for us; so, He didn’t mind chastising us when we erred. I can recall some punishments I had to face when I did something wrong. How about school work? My Dad made sure my handwriting was good, made sure I had extra lessons in school and still gave me work to do. Even in little things like the way I brushed my teeth, he made sure I did it well. He wanted children with all round discipline.
He was hardworking. My Dad worked hard. Even after his daily engagements, he still worked into the night with much diligence. My Mom witnessed this a lot and sometimes she makes reference to it. I also witnessed waking up to see my Dad making a design or drawing, making sketches or just doing some kind of work.
While there are many more things to write about my Dad, like his kindness, gentle spirit, caring nature, love for God etc, I have to end here. I believe that my Dad was able to perform his fatherly duties efficiently because of his relationship with God.
I’m very grateful for my father and above all, I give all gratitude to God who provides the strength to fathers to be all that they are.
In the years after my Dad left, God has been awesome. He has performed His Fatherhood responsibilities towards us at home very much, and He is still doing so. God has also brought men to play the roles of a father to us. I appreciate them all, especially one who is very dear to me and all of us in the family.
In addition, my Mom has been so wonderful, juggling being both a father and mother to her children. I’m so grateful for her. I know that the strength of God has been of great help and is still helping.
Finally, I started this post appreciating fathers and will end on a note of gratitude to them once again, and most importantly to our Father in heaven who plays the Father role perfectly.
When I was in high school, my teachers frequently stressed the need for us students to pay attention to instructions and follow them. They did this even more during external examinations. Initially, I wondered what all the stress was about; however, when they shared experiences of people who failed to follow instructions and paid dearly for it, I knew the importance of instructions.
Recently, I learned a new lesson on the need to follow instructions, and I’d like to share it.
One evening, I cooked beans at home. When my Mom arrived from her office, she expressed her desire to eat the beans with bread. But at the moment, there was no way to get bread. I then thought to myself, “we have flour, yeast, sugar and the basic requirements to make bread at home. Why not just make bread?”
So, I got all my ingredients ready for action. But first, I needed to read the procedure for making bread; thus, I checked the internet. (I am a baker but I bake cakes and just a few snacks. Bread is not one of the things that I am accustomed to baking. In other words, I’m not a bread baker.)
Scanning through the internet, I saw all forms of procedures and instructions to follow in order to come out with a good loaf. At that time though, reading everything in details seemed to be a herculean task for me. Consequently, I told myself that I was a baker and would find my way around it.
The procedure: Well, things went good in the mixing stage. Even the dough rose well after I let it rise. When it was time to bake the bread, I put it in the oven. Few minutes later, the aroma of bread baking in the oven was mouth watering, and I waited eagerly to see the outcome.
Pum. The oven sound came, indicating that the bread was ready. I went to the kitchen expectantly and opened the oven. Brown bread! Delicious. I was ‘feeling’ myself that it turned out well. I didn’t even bother trying to bring the bread out of the baking pan before digging into the bread.
The outcome: It was way below standard (Did I really think I could get away with not regarding those instructions?)
Till now, I don’t know how to describe what I baked. When I cut a piece from the loaf, I saw how the ‘bread’ really looked on the inside, and it was not bread, not even stale bread. I was only deceived by its exterior. The interior, which really mattered was nothing compared to bread. It was ‘grainy’ and unsoft.
What about the taste? It was definitely not bread. I ate the bread though, but it was like those kind of meals that only the person who makes them can eat them. My Mom didn’t even bother eating it.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson that day. If I want to make a good loaf of bread, I need to go through the task of reading and following the detailed instructions for a good outcome.
My experience might be inconsequential when compared with ‘bigger’ areas of life where instructions are vital. Nevertheless, following instructions applies to every area of life: physically, mentally, spiritually etc – whether in simple tasks, or in more complex ones.
There is a right instruction to guide us. To accomplish success, it is necessary to go through the process of knowing these instructions, paying close attention to them and following them.
…Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty… (Isaiah 6:3)
As a child brought up in a Christian home, the expression, “God is Holy” was something I heard often. I grew up knowing God as good, perfect, and incapable of wrong doing.
I wouldn’t say that the expression has been overused, because the holiness of God is not something that can ever be over emphasized. Nevertheless, I would say that the frequent use of that expression made me to trivialize what it really meant, especially as it relates to me as God’s child.
One day, a minister of God was about to give an exhortation and before he started, he sang the song, “Holy Holy is our God“. I was not unfamiliar with the song; still, as I knelt down to sing it, I saw the holiness of God in a different light – I saw it in light of my role as a daughter of God.
I believe that holiness connotes perfection, blamelessness, sinlessness, uprightness, righteousness and every good thing that comes with it. And the bible does not mince words in saying that God is Holy. Throughout scripture we see either God describing His holiness, or a man who got a revelation of God, pointing out that truly, God is Holy. And God’s word is true.
But how did this concern me?
You see, as I sang the song, “Holy Holy is our God“, I reflected on God’s uprightness, and simultaneously, I was reminded of my responsibility in living a holy life with some verses in the scripture: “To as many that received Him(Jesus), to them gave Him right to be called the sons of God“; “for the grace of God has appeared to all men teaching us to say no to any form of ungodliness (i.e. unholiness).
The bible already established that based on my receiving Jesus as LORD, I have been given the power to be God’s child. This power is given to everyone that receives Jesus, and it is not only to perform the miracles of God, this power is also to express the lifestyle of God – Holiness in all circumstances. Because that is who God is – always Holy, and He has given us the power to be like Him – Holy.
Now, there are times when we fall short. The bible itself implies that as humans we have infirmities (weaknesses), and Jesus understands this because He also lived as a man on earth. For this reason, we have been asked to approach God’s throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace in our time of need (i.e. pray for God’s help).
While I may not be able to say many other scriptures, the message to me that day was very clear: As a child of God, I had a holy calling and God expected holiness from me in all circumstances. As God’s own, I was to reveal the upright nature of God in all my conducts, both in the absence and presence of people, in my thoughts and in my actions.
This article might not concern everyone but I’m sharing a message that was given to me: God is Holy; and if you profess to be His child, you have a holy calling and should also express holiness. We have been given the ability to do such.
Biblical references: John 1:12; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 4:15-16.