A couple of hours to the end of 2019: Breathe in ……exhale!
God is indeed faithful and being alive at this very moment is a testimony of His never ending goodness, a testimony of His never failing mercies with every dawn, a testimony of His endless, priceless, unconditional love and a testimony of His grace that covers and carries us every second of our lives.
2019 has had its ups and down without a doubt, its seasons of mountain tops and bottom valleys, its season of laughter and tears, seasons of rock staunch faith and waves of doubt and unbelief, its seasons of high end success and downright failures, you name it. But here we are standing, chin high up like the overcomers we are.
If the Lord was not on our side, we would have certainly never made this to this end. The fact that we are alive today is a blessing and an assurance that God is not done with us, He has a plan for our lives and His plans will be fulfilled, not because of who we are or what we have done or how deserving we are but simply because of who He is, He is God, period.
I don’t know how your year has been but if I could describe 2019 for me, it would be an year of overwhelming blessings, love and support against all odds, an year of losing & gaining ,an year of pain, loss and heartbreak and an year of growing, failing and learning. What have I learnt in 2019? A lot, lol but what really stood out for me was a couple of lessons am delighted to share so here’s my 2019 in a nutshell;
- Embrace your season:
If am to be honest, I have struggled to learn and accept this lesson because truth be told, it’s a tough one especially when I had tagged my hopes and expectations on my plans, desires and goals to run on my very own timeline forgetting that I am not in control of time. There are dreams I hoped by now would have come to fruition, get married at a certain age, buy a car at this time, travel to that destination by a certain month, buy that land and settle down, get that promotion by that year, build and run my business, write that book… the list is endless. Every morning I jumped out of bed, looked at my vision board and geared myself up armed with my dreams and passions but at the end of it all, I didn’t accomplish all I had wanted for myself. I ended up struggling with feelings of despair, feeling too little, feeling like I wasn’t fighting too hard or I was dreaming too big, beating myself up for not becoming who I thought I wanted to be.
“Every season is one of becoming but not always blooming. Be gracious with your ever evolving self.”
I thank God that as I reflect back on my 2019, I can confidently say that I’ve come to appreciate that there is a reason for every season and if am patient enough and armed with a teachable spirit, I’ll grow and be fruitful in and out of season. God never allows us to pass through a certain phase in life in vain because He has promised us that all things work together for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. My circumstances may not look like I envisioned, I may not accomplish the goals I aspired and that’s perfectly okay because in its season, at His timing, He will make all things beautiful. God is not a man that He should lie, whatever He has promised me, though it may tarry, will come to pass.
I’ve learned to work in tandem with God’s season and not run around trying to achieve things outside His will. I’ve learned to hold on tight to the dreams He placed in my heart, knowing that one day, despite the heartbreaks in between, the fatigue and brokenness of waiting in season, He will keep His word because He is faithful and never goes back against it. I’ve learned to constantly seek His face, His voice and to hide myself in His word.
- Celebrating Milestones:
I don’t know if this happens to you but personally I have struggled with seeing the positive amidst disappointments. It’s almost as if my mind always zooms in on what went wrong, what didn’t go as expected, what would have been and I fail to look back and appreciate the progress I am making or count the numerous blessings that I already have. Yes 2019 didn’t entirely go the way I wanted but there are some beautiful turns it took that gave me the best moments I ever could wish for. Am learning that even the little steps in between count because they signify growth and at the end, am not where I wanted to be and thankfully am also not where I was in the beginning.
“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings happiness”
Count your blessings; Name them one by one.
Count your blessings; See what God has done.
Count your blessings; Name them one by one.
And you’ll be surprised to see what God has done.
I’ve learned/still learning to choose what it is I focus on because ultimately it ends up being magnified. I choose to see the good in all my circumstances, I choose to appreciate each and every milestone I make, I choose to see the good in people and believe that deep down lies the best version of themselves, I choose to not be hard on myself all the time and to pause and laugh in between, to remember that one failure or delay doesn’t equate to my identity. I choose to be the one who defines what success means to me, and not allow the world to define me. If I try out and fall, I choose to stand, dust up, pat myself on the back for the courage displayed then hit the road and try again because I chose to not be crippled by fear but rather be empowered in faith.
- Grace in abundance:
If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I don’t know where I would have been today because a million times I’ve failed over and over & Still His mercy remains and I’m caught in His grace. I have had my seasons in 2019 where I doubted God’s plan for my life, where I wavered in unbelief and my faith was shaken to the core. Like Jonah, I too have tried running away from Him when things got too tough and needed to be as far away as possible. There are days I didn’t want to pray, read my bible, attend church service, days I even doubted if I was called to serve in ministry but looking back , boy am I glad that even in my moments of weaknesses and foolishness, God never turns His back against me. That despite what I do, my identity still remains intact in His sight, I am still His child and He loves me with such a pure unconditional love.
My walk of faith isn’t all roses and petals, I fail, I fall but I’ll tell you what it is for sure, the one constant that rests my heart and that is God’s unending grace. In the midst of it all. God covers me, He loves me, He gives me another chance, He rescues me and He saves me.
Salvation isn’t for the perfect ones, those who have life figured it out, nope…after all Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He doesn’t expect us to clean up and come to Him, He is calling us to come to Him as we are, in the thick of our mess and our weaknesses because that’s when His strength is best displayed.
“God does not need your strength: He has more than enough of power of His own. He asks for your weakness: He has none of that Himself, and He is longing, therefore, to take your weakness, and use it as the instrument in His own mighty hand. Will you not yield your weakness to Him, and receive His strength?”
- Loving Unconditionally:
Since I accepted Christ as my personal Savior back in 26th May 2016 (whew, see God) I came face to face with what unconditional love felt like, a love like none other I had ever experienced, a love I had been searching for all along in the wrong places and arms. I was a hot mess, all broken and hurt, carrying a tonne of baggage, heartbreak, bitterness and anger, battling rejection, covered in guilt and shame BUT He still embraced me as I was. He loved me, picked me up, cleansed me and gave me a new identity in Him, one that was no longer tied to where I had come from or what I had done. I grew to fall in love with Him more and more every day and it was beautiful until it dawned on me that I had to extend the same love back to other people.
To be honest, people aren’t all that kind and good all the time, lol…sometimes they hurt you, offend you, irk you, poke you and God still expects us to extend the same hand He did to us. This has been a tough lesson, living out God’s love practically: being patient, being kind, not being envious, not being boastful, not being prideful, not being rude, not being self-seeking, not being easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs, not delighting in evil but rejoicing in truth.
This kind of love is impossible if you are not anchored in God because He is love. I have being hurt by people and I struggled with forgiving. I have watched people repeat offenses and I struggled with being patient and not keeping a record of their wrongs. I’ve had people treat me wrong, say mean things and I’ve struggled to keep silent and not lash out rude and unkind words. I’ve battled with pride and thinking am better than other people, I’ve secretly battled the green eyed monster called jealousy and envied other people’s journeys and successes.
It’s a journey and am learning that if Christ found me at my darkest, loved me at my worst and forgave all my transgressions, I need to do the same for others. That is what we call extended grace and is the journey of being transformed to become Christ like…more and more of Christ. If we can’t give to others what we have freely received, then I beg to ask, who are we looking up to, Christ or the world? If we can’t love people at their lowest, if we can’t embrace them, flaws and all, who are we reflecting? Do unto others as Christ has done for you.
- God’s will nonetheless:
Losing a loved one takes a toll on you and in 2019, my heart was broken twice and I struggled with grief and accepting loss. The first loss was watching my best friend lose her husband of four years. I remember receiving that phone call and wishing it was the death of someone else, a relative but not him. Life is very short, one morning you are with your loved one and the next they are no more, no warning, no hint or clue, no goodbye, nothing… just emptiness and heartaches and grief. His death was so sudden and cruel, a hit and run accident, the driver didn’t even stop to salvage the situation, rectify his mistake and save a life.
For a while I battled with being bitter at God, I had so many unanswered questions, Why him? Why now? How would she cope? Why did their two year old boy have to grow up without his dad? I hadn’t figured out the answers when my heart was broken again in a span of two months, another loss, same tragedy-a hit and run accident, rushed to hospital, taken to ICU. Difference with the second case is we had a chance to plead in prayer and ask God to save his life and restore him back, we took turns in praying round the clock, alternating every two hours but he still passed on. I wasn’t bitter anymore with God, I was raged and furious, I mean didn’t He hear our prayers? Was He unable to save him? Why did he have to die so young? I was so broken inside, for a month I didn’t step to church, I looked fine on the outside but deep down my heart was crying.
As I write this, am at peace with the loss and with God because He remains God and He does what is best for us, His thoughts are way above ours, and we’ll never grasp all He does. I’ve stopped fighting His will. I don’t have all the answers, but I trust Him and I know He knows what He is doing. I’ve accepted I don’t have to know or understand His plans, all I need is to trust in Him.
Do I know how to handle grief? No, I still haven’t grasped this but I rest in this simple truth, I can be real with Him because we have a relationship, I can bare my grief, my anger, my rage, my pain, my heartbreak and it will never surprise Him or make Him change the way He feels about me, what we have is an eternal love.
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As I bid goodbye to the year 2019, I look back at the year and all I can say is through it all my eyes are on God and it is well with me because my soul has learnt to let go and trust in God.
If 2019 has been the best year ever for you, we celebrate and give thanks to God.
If 2019 hit you the hardest, wounded you, kicked you down, be encouraged that ALL IS NOT LOST. You are still alive because God has a beautiful plan for your life. You may not see it now, you may not feel it now but rest in this: God’s not done with you!!
To God be the Glory!