THE MESSAGE THROUGH THE TRIAL

Have you ever wondered why you are going through a low season? Like nothing seems to be working for you? No job, no money, no business coming in and no ‘bae’ to even share your burdens with. Everything seems to be working just fine for everyone but you. Welcome to my past…..

2014 was the lowest point of my life. I had hit the brink and was at the point of falling. I had everything working against me. The odds didn’t work in my favour either. I was running 2 businesses and both seemed hopeless- nothing to write home about. I was super single and the few good dudes around me didn’t feel like ‘the one’. I only derived joy in celebrating my friends as there was little or next to nothing for me to celebrate anyways. Oh yea, I was job hunting oh, but they sha refused to call me and the ones that did wanted me to work 9 to 5, 6 days a week for a little over 30k shuttling between Opebi, Ikeja and Lekki Phase 1. It seemed like a never ending story of a young lady who had nothing working for her.

So I decided to bury myself. I went into a shell. Stopped hanging out with friends except those that understood my financial status. I totally withdrew from the world as that kinda cost me less biko. It was easier to stay at home and fast than go out to chill and be telling waiter ‘nothing for now, I have a running stomach’. I would just bury myself at home. It was safer.

Eventually, I decided to just draw strength from God and find a purpose for myself. I was tired of loafing around so I searched for what I loved doing. Somehow I realised going to church gave me some kind of joy I couldn’t explain so I fired up. I became a menace in the house of the Lord. I attended all church programmes and one time in church I got a message which said ‘what you have is enough to change lives’. I had nothing but I knew I wanted to change lives so I spoke to a friend who obviously had more spiritual ginger than I did and hence the birth of The Jaine Initiative. We had our first project when I had a little over #300 (three hundred naira) in my account and the project cost was a little over #120,000 and we pulled it off. Obviously not by our own pockets as our finances couldn’t add up. One of the greatest miracles God used to teach me a lesson- WHAT YOU HAVE IS JUST ENOUGH!

I had a new vision and I was ready to drown myself in it at all cost. I kept pushing. The only thing that changed was my new level of faith in God and this reshaped my life forever. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure why I was where I was but I knew there had to be a lesson and I would hate for me to miss it so I decide to stay put in class and let God teach me. Boy was it tough! My finals in school had nothing on how God drilled me and to think this is next to nothing compared to what others have had to face, I became humble.

Then more guys came and as single as I was, I needed some kind attention as a baby girl but I just kept feeling the nudge to hold on. My mind would say just try but then a sweeter voice would say do not compromise. I got tired of the battles I fought within and just gave it all up. I simply went to church one day and shouted at the top of my voice ‘Just have Your way, I’m done fighting, I’m done holding back….Just have Your WAY. I love You and I want the world to know so have Your way’. Looking back now, I want to scream and tell God just how crazy I still am about Him. After this, I cut ties with all the toasters; to some I had the stupidest excuse but I knew better than to hold on to men and expect God’s best. The decision paid off cuz weeks later, my husband found me again (story for another day).

I started getting job offers. In December that year I got 2 job offers and I was to resume in January 2015, both on the same day- one was a start-up company which gave me more time for church and the other was the dream job with one of Nigeria’s leading event company and was going to give me no time for church or ministry. I had gotten to a point in my life where nothing could take the place of God and so I let go of the dream job in the company I had been applying to be an intern with since 2012. From here, things just fell in place.

I still had broke days, quite a lot of them but guess what, God had used my 2014 experience to shape my life forever. I was stripped of everything I could depend on just so I could live depending on God. God had brought me to a point where my joy wasn’t tied to men, money or material things. I am so not there yet but I am definitely not the same person I used to be. I really didn’t understand what God was taking me through until when I had to go through a season and I was unmoved then it dawned on me, God was grooming me for a time like this.

In essence, God doesn’t take us through the fire for nothing. He takes us through it to purify us. He took me through it not to punish me but to groom me. Sincerely, I can’t imagine getting married being tied to the things God took the time to strip me of. This might just be a pinch compared to what you have been through or still going through but believe me, it is for greater glory. It might seem crazy and unfair but God loves you too much to ‘just punish’ you. There were nights I cried, knowing where I was coming from to what then seemed like my fate but thank God I was sensitive to the season. It was only a phase I had to go through to turn out better and God was in it.

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TRIALS, FAITH, GRACE, TRIUMPH

Our journey in life will always be filled with trials. Just like we need to be tested before we are allowed to advance into the next class, so we need to be tried for greater glory. These tests may seem unending but the great thing though is that we are sure of the light that’s at the end of the tunnel.

 

I can’t say I’ve “aced” all these tests cuz with most I’ve been promoted on trial. So trust me when I say I’m only here as a result of God’s grace and not by my personal grades. One thing that I’ve learnt through the seemingly endless exams is that my tiny pinch of faith has helped me through mosr. I can say that my grace for faith has been my expo for the tests I managed to get a C in. Lol.

Our faith is more powerful than we think. It’s one of the many gifts God has blessed us with so we can have true peace.

 

Recently, I had a down time. In fact, during this super short test I lost a lot of rest. I knew it was a phase that would eventually pass but I was too impatient to find peace. I wanted the test to end already so I could delve right into the next class. It was a super short exam I must confess but I had lost a lot of faith. In between moments tho, I’d speak to God  and I’d be reminded of how faithful He had been in the past; how He’s never left any of my prayers unanswered; how He’s always blessed me with more than I ask for per time.

 

I’d wonder how I could have forgotten how faithful Father has been to me, how His grace had kept me and how His love for me had been proven over and over again. Then in the midst of the unrest, the uncertainties; in the midst of the seemingly unending storm, I found peace. Peace knowing that my God is faithful to bring what He’s promised to fruition; He’s faithful to take me through the fire unscratched, untouched. I found my faith back tho I let it slip a few times after but I knew better and I was quickly reminded of my past testimonies which increased my faith.

I found peace again and my rest was sealed. When I got my exam results and I had managed to scale through, I knew deep down in me that I could have done better if I had believed some more. If only I didn’t have those moments of doubt knowing how gracious He has been to me, I would know I deserved this new upgrade I now have.

But then, just as I filled my head with the doubts of my faithfulness, Abba reminds me that it has never been about my works but by His grace alone. It had never for once been by my faithfulness to Him or righteous deeds, but by His unending LOVE.

 

So here I am, basking in the euphoria of this new phase looking forward to the next test and preparing my faith level for an unwavering sail into the next stage. I’m going on with the renewed joy and confidence I have now gained in Christ. I now know based on my past experiences that no matter how fierce the storm is, my God is faithful and able to always take me through untouched.

 

9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians12:9

 

With Jesus Love,

IyunadeOLUWA

PURITY JOURNEY- MY TESTIMONY

Wow, its been a year and some months since my last post and a lot has happened. Been on and off trying to find the best time to put up my first post after my long silence but its occurred to me that I’d probably wait another year without putting anything up either so I pushed myself, hence this.

 

So in between my very long break, I got engaged and in May this year, God sealed it all with the I Dos. Loooool! Our big day was all shades of amazing and that walk down the aisle was just perfect. Its been months since our wedding and all I can say is “God is faithful indeed”. He began the good work 7 years ago and with a long pause in between, thanks to our self will, God perfected that which He started.

 

Our relationship was simply a “God Project”. We had dated back in school for about 6 months or so but had to break up cuz he was graduating and I really wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. Back then, we dated basically cuz everyone was doing it- it had no purpose- and so we abused it. This was in 2009/2010 and we were cool yea but we weren’t true to ourselves. Our relationship then missed the God factor. We practically rode blindly and God decided to stop it before we headed for the cliff.

 

After 5 years, (no communication) we came back together but this time, we were done having relationships our own way. We already had our share of sour wines and we knew better than to mess up the last chance God was giving us. We had been praying to God for leading and found ourselves again through the rarest way. We kicked off as friends but with the sole aim of pleasing God. We knew that several things had to go if we were to do it God’s way. We had to run it for Him, with Him and by Him. It was no longer going to be about how we felt but how God felt about it.

 

In a world filled with sexual perversion, it seems insane to choose a different path. Some will tell you how impossible it is to be in a healthy relationship without sex, kissing, touching and all. In fact to some, these make up “the ideal relationship” but I stand to totally disagree!!! We are a testimony that defies this notion in its entirety! We practised #Sexualpurity. This was something that seemed to be a far cry from reality as sex and/or kissing were prerequisites to be in a good relationship! Don’t get it twisted, we both had our fair share of kisses but that didn’t particularly make up for what our past relationships missed.

 

For me, I had wondered how much God wanted me to preserve myself as I didn’t think kissing was a sin back in Uni but then, I noticed after a kissing session with an ex, I felt as though I had killed someone. I’d loose my peace and feel like I had done the unthinkable. My years of waiting paid off as I began to understand the extent to which God wanted me to preserve myself, NO KISSING (so sex wasn’t even up for discussion). I chose to wait on God to bring the man who would believe in my values irrespective of his past mistakes and for me, this was going to be one of my many convictions when I eventually find My Amazing as all the men around me did not believe it was possible to be in a serious relationship with me without kissing even if they had to part with sex for a few months/years before we would eventually get married.

 

I remember one of my “toatsers” telling me how I would have to settle down with a pastor as it was totally impossible for me to find a man that would want to stay with me without getting physical and my response was “he will be my own pastor, the prophet of my home”. I had too much faith in God that if He wanted me to stay without these things, He would definitely bring the man who would help make this “grace walk” a smooth sail and when God brought him, it was easy to flow into this vision as God had taken time to prepare him for that journey.
When he (Hubby) came back into my life, as impossible as the world had painted sexual purity to be, it was effortlessly easy for us to click on this- not by words alone, but in deed too as our first kiss was on the day of our Civil Marriage! Sex waited until we had been joined in church! So we had our first physical show of love (first kiss) as a married couple. We left all our mushiness till then and also had to hold our pre-wedding shoots till after our legal joining just to avoid “the heat”. At first it seemed like a dead end but all we needed was to decide to do it against the norms of the world and have it God’s way and the grace was made abundantly available from the Mercy Seat. I can categorically say that only the growth in our walk with God could have given us the grace to have been together for almost 2 years without falling.

 

God blessed us with a married Christian couple that helped our good fight of faith. God used them to speak to us on several occasions especially after we got engaged and the devil was out to set us up. They would call or send timely text messages, encouraging us to hold on and be watchful as the devil would try to tempt us. God used them to guide us so many times and this showed us even more that He was very much interested in our love story and we in turn were determined to make Him proud at all cost.

 

Keeping ourselves helped our relationship with ABBA individually and together. We were free in the presence of God. We could talk about God and purpose without feeling like hypocrites. There were no fears of God’s will as we knew we were dwelling in it. We were not scared of God saying No concerning our relationship cuz we were more about “whatever God wants, God gets”. I personally had gotten to a point were God came first. He still is first.

Our proposal was kinda huge. But even with everyone knowing about the union to be, I never stopped asking God to break the relationship if for any reason He decided it wasn’t His will for us to be together. I was up praying the same prayer on the morning of our registry. I wasn’t scared to loose him provided I still had my God. I had gotten my convictions but I still wanted God to know that He was riding and we were only passengers on the cruise.

 

Sincerely, waiting helped us bond. We were super close. We fought less, prayed more. We could hear the same thing from the Holy Spirit almost at the same time. We grew to understand each other so much and time spent together were for teasing, gisting, praying, singing, developing and pursuing purpose. We fought though, over silly things but we couldn’t stay mad at each other. And guess what, this God has helped us to carry into marriage. We hide nothing and we can say even the weirdest things. Our perception of one another wasn’t clouded with false emotion so we walked into this forever journey with 20/20 vision!

When you do it right by God, He grants you the grace to carry on to the end. Don’t bother about how- JUST DO IT BY GOD

So I hope with these few points of mine, I’ve been able to convince you that #sexualpurity is possible irrespective of the lies our world serves you with.

 

NO ONE ELSE, NOTHING LESS

I’ve always wondered why things excite me for only a short while. The joy that comes with a new achievement is usually somewhat,  short lived! One moment I’m basking in euphoria, chilling in Upendi!  Literally skating on cloud 9 and the next, I find myself wanting more. What seemed like a great accomplishment a few days ago then seems like just another puzzle solved. The excitement slips away to become just an assignment completed. Nothing to it. I then yearn for more, go in search of a new conquest in order to feed my want! Something to bring me joy…. The search for happiness doesnt ever end now does it?…

As a young child I really never had my dad around like other kids did and this left quite a vacuum as I grew older. Yes I felt incomplete but I never really noticed that I had been busy looking for a father in every Harry that came my way. It took me almost 10 years to realise I had been searching for a father that wasn’t lost and even worst, in the wrong places- in mortals.

Now merging both! I had always been searching for something. I knew I needed something so I tried to Find It, anyway I could.  In all sincerity,  I didn’t know what it was but I searched anyways. This went on for years until Christ found me. It was then I found true joy. Sounds like a campaign yea but mehn, Christ truly makes the difference. I found out that He had been the missing link all the while. It was Jesus I needed- He is Love and joy, happiness, fulfilment are all outpours of His immense love.

Truth be told, I get carried away sometimes. I tend to tie my happiness to a few material things or humans from time to time but when the happiness begins to fade away, I’m reminded that there’s never true happiness outside Jesus Christ. We go in search of happiness outside Christ when in Him there’s eternal joy, love and peace.

I’m gradually learning daily to let my joy come from and solely depend on Christ. Let Jesus be the reason for my excitement. I’m growing to realise that humans, no matter how close or how much they love you, will always fail you. I’d disappoint you too, its normal darling! Its life and no, you haven’t been cursed. You are just on planet earth. But you see this Jesus Christ will never fail you. When you put your trust in no one else but Jesus Christ He gives you nothing less than true joy.

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK

‘…If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also’.’Matthew 5:39 NLT

There are two ways you can respond to negative criticism. If there’s truth in it, humbly accept it and grow through it. If not, practise what Jesus taught: ‘You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say…If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also’ (vv 38-39 NLT).

Sometimes a person’s criticism may actually have nothing to do with you at all; they simply feel cheated by life. And rather than take control of their heart’s dreams, they go around trying to squelch other people’s dreams in an attempt to drag them down to their own level of despair. And while it’s tempting to want to retaliate and point out their weaknesses and failures, that’s not the example Jesus set for you. Nor is it the high road you are called to take. ‘Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone’ (Romans 12:17-18 NLT).

What does it mean to turn the other cheek? It means don’t let your critics get under your skin. Simply listen to them, thank them, and take their criticism with a grain of salt. Save your time and energies for those you trust, those who love you enough to tell you the truth even when it hurts. Someone has said, ‘You owe nothing to a critic!’ Actually, you do. Jesus said, ‘…Pray for those who persecute you!’ (Matthew 5:44 NLT).

Credit: The UCB Word For Today

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

YOU MIGHT BE THE PROBLEM

Hey Darlings!
A beautiful day to you all. I hope you’ve had a blessed month so far? I pray God continues to usher you into your season of rest, joy and laughter.

I sincerely apologise for the long silence though, please pardon me.
There’s always something to learn right? Oh well, I just realised how far from perfect I’ve been, and still am.

I should tell you how highly irritable I could get especially when I feel someone has a certain character that I find totally annoying. Oh how easy it was to steadily get on my nerves. I had a very short fuse and every little thing would totally turn me off. There were days when almost 10 different people would conveniently annoy me and I’d ask myself “am I the only person available?” “They’ve sent this one too”. I would flare up and then tell myself- it wasn’t my fault; if only he/she understood me more. It was easy to blame anyone and everyone but myself, I was always right.

I’ve sorta grown into a very principled lady, a one way traffic so to say and for years I had formed my beliefs which largely influences how I relate with others. I expect people to act in a certain way in certain situations and if they fall slightly short of what I had imagined, I would switch off on them and in cases where I couldn’t, I’d try to change them into who I felt they should be. I thought I was barbie- perfect with no flaws until God started dealing with me.

The usual Iyùn, wanting to change every body’s flaw was faced spot on with her own short comingsssssss. I wasn’t so perfect after all. I had complained about a habit my friend had which I kinda felt was really annoying-maybe it was though or I just didn’t like it-but it was something I could easily overlook. I just couldn’t let it go and I began to withdraw. I knew something was wrong, with me this time, so I went to God. Frankly, I didnt know what I had to pray about but I just felt the nudge to pray so I asked for God’s voice and ABBA did come through……

Pastor Kay mounted the pulpit that beautiful Sunday morning and thought on- How To Show Love- and with the first point he made, I was sure GOD was speaking to me. “Love endures all. Give room for others to make mistake” he said. “You are not perfect too you know! We all have really annoying habits and we hope others will accept us as we are but  remember also, the flaws other people have makes them who they are”. “Where there are humans, there’s  are tendencies for disagreement. Its not a plague nor a curse, its life”.

Then I realised the issue wasn’t with the world, it was with me not accepting people as they are. Trying to reform people into what I wanted and pretended that was best for the universe! Who sent me tho?! I had been a very self centered person. I knew I needed to be delivered so I took the prayers quite personal as I immediately figured how much damage this one trait could eventually create.

Now I’m learning to let people be themselves around me, that’s the only way we can enjoy them.
Give room for their flaws, I’m also a work in progress and really far from being perfect.
Forgive them, even before they err.

I’d daily ask for the grace to accept people and their flaws, love their weaknesses and appreciate their strengths cuz its through this we can enjoy true fellowship. You should pray for grace too
GOD help us all.

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

TAKE IT TO THE LORD

12 AUGUST 2015

‘…so the power of God could be seen in him.’ John 9:3 NLT

When Jesus encountered a blind man, His disciples immediately began to discuss the reason for the man’s condition. They asked Jesus, ‘Was this man’s blindness the result of his own sins, or the sins of his parents?’ Jesus answered, ‘[He was born blind] so the power of God could be seen in him.’ Notice four things: 1) The disciples were eager to attribute the man’s problem to his sin. And satan will try to convince you that because of your sin you’re disqualified from God’s grace, but you’re not! God doesn’t examine your past to decide your future.

2) When Jesus healed him, the neighbours were more interested in debating than celebrating—and not much has changed! They started asking, ‘“…Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was…others said, “No…”’ (vv 8-9 NLT). 3) His healing failed the ‘religiosity test’ because the Pharisees said, “…This man Jesus is not from God…working on the Sabbath…”’ (v 16 NLT).

4) Even the man’s parents weren’t free to praise God, because ‘…anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue’ (v. 22 NLT). To the neighbours he was a misfit, to church leaders he was a topic of debate, to his parents he was a social stigma, so they ‘…threw him out’ (v 34 NIV). End of story? Thank God—no!

‘Jesus…went and found him…[and]…said, “I came…so that those who have never seen will see…”’ (vv 35, 39 TM). So instead of rehashing your problem and listening to other people’s opinions, take it to the Lord in prayer. When you share it with others, the best you’ll get is sympathy, but when you share it with Jesus you’ll get a solution.

This devotional is produced by UCB, free of charge through the generosity of our supporters.

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

TEST YOUR THOUGHTS

‘…We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

You will never be any better, wiser or happier than the thoughts that influence you. You say, ‘I can’t help it; these thoughts just come into my mind.’ Yes, you can! ‘The weapons we fight with…have divine power to demolish strongholds…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (vv. 4-5 NIV).

A ‘stronghold’ is a thought-pattern that controls you. It could be fear, greed, inferiority, lust, etc. It’s a ‘stronghold’ because it holds you strongly in its grip. How do you break that grip? With God’s Word. For example, when fear and inadequacy tell you you’re not good enough to succeed, become proactive and say, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13NKJV).

If your immediate goal is to ‘feel good’, you’ll never develop self-control. ‘For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it…’ (Hebrews 12:11 AMP). Discipline doesn’t bring immediate joy, but it brings lasting joy later on. Note the words ‘trained by it’.

You must train your mind to go the right way; otherwise it’ll take you the wrong way. God says, ‘…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life…’ (Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV). God gives you choices. But He won’t make your choices for you; you must do that. In order to walk in God’s blessing each day, you must choose the right thoughts each day, and the longer you keep doing it the easier it will become. You’ve just got to get through the ‘training’ period.

Credit: UCB Word For Today Daily Devotional

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

GOD’S GUIDANCE

‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go…’Psalms 32:8 NIV

You can know God’s will for your life. He promises, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.’ His Word says, ‘In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths’ (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV). God wants you to move from guesswork to guidance, but getting there requires four things: 1) Knowing that God’s will begins with surrendering your will. Jesus said, ‘I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me’ (John 5:30 NAS). You only recognise God’s will as you learn to lay aside your own will, and that gets easier with practice.

2) Keeping a spiritual mindset. It’s not possible to sense God’s will while you’re controlled by self-interest. ‘The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so’ (Romans 8:7 NIV). 3) Praying for God’s guidance. David prayed, ‘Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me…’ (Psalms 143:10 NIV). James also encourages us: ‘If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking’ (James 1:5 NLT).

4) Reading God’s Word with a heart that’s open to hear from Him. ‘By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path…’ (Psalms 119:105 TM). Daily exposure to the Word of God will help you recognise His voice when He speaks to you. ‘…the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice’ (John 10:4 NKJV).

With Jesus Love
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

FEAR OF SACRIFICE

Often times we pray about knowing God’s will for our lives but do we really want it? I personally find myself asking for God’s perfect will but somewhere deep down in my heart lies the fear of actually being dished out the sacrifices that accompany His will. Don’t get me wrong o. Not like I won’t like to be tested or tried by Him, but the human nature in me fears how much I’d have to path away with during the tests.

But just about when I let myself get overwhelmed by the mirage of fears I’m reminded of God’s strength in my weakness and you know what?! I suddenly feel like I’m on top of the world.

Need I say more? I’m sure we’ve all had and still face the unknown fears but here’s something I read and found peace, the prayer made me feel at ease and I hope it does the same to you.
You can also read my post on- I’M HERE.

” Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. – Isa 26:3

How comes it to pass, then, that we appear such cowards in reasoning, and are so afraid to stand the test of ridicule?— Earl of Shaftesbury.

He that of such a height hath built his mind,
And reared the dwelling of his thoughts so strong,
As neither fear nor hope can shake the frame
Of his resolved powers; nor all the wind

Of vanity or malice pierce to wrong
His settled peace, or to disturb the same:
What a fair seat hath he, from whence he may
The boundless wastes and wilds of man survey?
— Samuel Daniel.

Prayer

O Lord, it is not that I am ashamed to ask thee for the truth that I do not more diligently seek it, but it is because I fear the sacrifice that may follow in obtaining it. I would that I could understand that thy strength is given in the sacrifice. Make me braver as I seek to live in the truth. Amen”

I pray God continues to remind us of His immense presence that’s always with us in the fire. Amen

With Jesus Joy,
-IyunadeOLUWA♥

Credit: Daily Prayer Guide(Lite)