“Abba” is the Hebrew word for Father. Thus ‘Abba Father‘ means Father Father. A term reserved for the beloved of the most high God, (his children).
"And so that we would know that we are his true children, God released the Spirit of Sonship into our hearts - moving us to cry out intimately, "My Father! My true Father!"
So the term ‘Abba Father‘ is an invitation for us to lay claim to our identity and sonship through Christ Jesus. We have been restored to a right standing with God and therefore are heirs alongside Jesus Christ. We can cry out ‘Abba Father‘ just as Jesus Christ did while he was present on earth.
God is our father and our comforter, and ‘Abba Father’ is a personal term for God. It suggests an intimate relationship and personal knowledge of the person of God. Something we must daily strive to develop while we are present on this earth.
As we just celebrated Easter, we are reminded of Jesus Christ crying to his Father while on the Cross in such an intimate way
“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” — the Aramaic form — “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” Matthew 27:46
(see also Mark 15: 34)
I find it interesting that Jesus did not refer to God as ‘My Father’ here, but rather highlighted God’s Lordship over his life as ‘My God’.
This verse mirrors what was said in the Old Testament in Psalms 22:1. It was almost like Jesus was pouring out his soul in anguish and couldn’t reconcile this as a part of his Father. He knew God had to allow the suffering to occur in order to reconcile mankind back to right standing with God. It had nothing to do with his own personal relationship with His Father. Isn’t this Jesus just so awesome! He would willingly shed his blood for our sins and so we can be brought back into right standing with God, that’s real love right there!
But, we also know that Jesus Christ was fully human just as he was also fully God, so like any one of us would, he tried to appeal to his Father to curtail the cup of suffering before Him.
“Abba Father! Everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
The relationship of Jesus with God is a clear example of this intimacy in calling God “Abba”
The son of Man, Jesus Christ, could be vulnerable and real with God at this moment. Just as we to a large extent can be vulnerable with our earthly Fathers. Trusting that they want the best for us and feeling assured of our safety in their presence.
Yet, Jesus ultimately knew that God’s will must be done.
As a child of my earthly father I know largely the things he likes, dislikes and what his values are. Therefore, when I am out and about and going about my business, the popular saying plays at the back of my head:
“remember the child of whom you are”.
This is just the same with our Heavenly Father. Because I have spent 20+ years of my life learning about my father and developing a relationship with him, seeing him through different life experiences and communicating with him, so I know what his values are. Imagine, how much more we can determine what God’s will, especially when we have the help of the Holy Spirit residing within us.
The beauty of ‘Abba Father’ is seen in Romans 8.
We are told that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus. Imagine our earthly fathers and how much they love us. We know that nothing we can ever do will separate us from their love and care for us. Distance may create a barrier, but we are secure and assured in the love of our father for us. Now lets imagine the love of our heavenly Father, who is not as flawed as our earthly fathers neither is he swayed by our actions.
We are all beloved children of God. We lay claim to the nature of God as our Abba Father. He is our Provider (Jehovah Jireh), our Comforter (Jehovah Shalom), our Friend, our Confidant, our Teacher and our Protector (Jehovah Nissi).
It can be quite easy to attach our value and worth to what we bring and give to people. But the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 shows clearly that even though she might have been deemed damaged goods and forgotten by society because her son would no longer be the rightful heir in Abraham’s lineage, yet she wasn’t left alone to bear the grunt and shame society placed on her.
Hagar calls God El Roi after being chased out by Sarai and Abraham with her son Ishmael. El Roi shows up again in Genesis 21:14 -21 for Hagar the Egyptian. We see the goodness and kindness of God at work here because even though Hagar didn’t birth the promised child yet she wasn’t abandoned by God. She received the back end of the bargain and was subjected to hostility from Sarai even though it was Sarai’s impatience that led to her situation. Yet we see the goodness of God at work. He reclaims what man taints and beautifies it and removes reproach.
No matter what we may encounter or experience we have a God that truly sees us. Not the way other people see us rather God sees into our very being and into our hearts.
Matthew 10: 29-31
29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin[k]? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows
Anytime we worry about our impact or significance or we question our worth, we are reminded that God loves us inherently because he created us and made us. The same God that provides for the animals we see in the wild and even the rodents that we wonder where they come from, still they are preserved one way or another. We are more valuable to God because we are made in His image therefore won’t He want to supply our needs much more?
One question that comes to my mind is ‘Why does God love us?’ It can be difficult to understand that God loves us but after reminding ourselves enough times and keep playing over His words in our mind that indeed God loves us, the next question could be ‘Why?’
Imagine you pour your heart and soul into something. A hobby, an event, or a project, that thing carries a piece of you and to some extent is a representation of you, therefore will you not love that thing? Even if you have perfectionist tendencies and the outcome isn’t necessarily what you envisioned but because you have put some portion of yourself, your heart and soul into this thing, there is no way that thing does not hold a special place in your heart. That is how I think of how God loves us. Apart from the fact that God is Love and it is a part of His nature, we are also made in His image. Meaning regardless of our imperfections and flaws, inherently we mirror our heavenly Father.
Made in His image
Therefore He sees us and knows us. Before we were formed in our mothers womb He knew us. Not made but formed. Making something requires action, formation can occur in the mind and can be theoretical. So before we were even a thought or an idea God already knew us because we are a part of Him. We are made in His image. That knowledge is too lofty! So grand and so spectacular! Before we were even a thought, God had us on His mind. How will He not watch over us jealously then? How will He not be invested in our future and our lives. But that is the type of God we serve.
The God that sees us and knows us.
God sees and has chosen us even before the creation of the world.
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
This means God already loved us before we even did anything or could provide anything. He had already set the plan in place that we would be justified and made righteous in Christ Jesus. That means our good deeds behaviors, bad deeds and behaviors does not affect how God sees us and loves us. His thought towards us are ALWAYS good and can never be tainted by anything. God does not reason like human beings and not swayed by emotions, feelings or seasons. He remains the same, ever faithful, ever sure
El Roi – This identity of God can be closely linked to his sovereignty as Omnipresent and Omniscient. Meaning God is present at all times and he knows all things. There is nothing and nowhere we can go to hide from Him.
He sees us and more than that He knows us.
Hebrews 12:13 (AMP):
“And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.”
Jeremiah 12: 3a
“Yet you know me, Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you.”
2 Chronicles 16: 9a
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
All of this ties into the fact that God is sovereign. Our God reigns in the heavens and we worship Him from earth (Psalms 115:3). In fact the whole of Psalm 115 commands us to remember and revere this God because He sees us and cares for us, in comparison to the gods and idols of earth who cannot see or care for their worshippers.
His names are to offer us reverence and a call to remind ourselves of the vast magnitude of the God we serve. We can never completely and totally quantify Him. He reveals different portions of himself to us in different situations.
Psalm 121:8 NIV
“The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Amen)
To be known and loved is the greatest desire of the human heart. We have a God that loves us but more than that He knows us because He sees us. He sees deep into our very hearts and desires. He knows how we think and how we operate, even better than we know ourselves. He is our ever present help in times of trouble. How does he know we are in trouble you ask? Because His eyes are always on us! Watching us! He jealously guards over us. He is too committed and invested in bringing His purposes to pass through and in us (Ezekiel 39:25). He will not absolve us of our responsibility to righteousness but at the same time for His name’s sake He will always redeem us.
Hagai and her son were still able to share in some portion of the inheritance even though it wasn’t promised to them at first but because God is merciful and just, He provides a way.
God sees our afflictions and sufferings and He shows up for us in the most unexpected way. By sending His son, Jesus Christ to perform the ultimate sacrifice that covers a multitude of afflictions that we may ever experience on this side of eternity and beyond.
Have you ever wondered why a certain subsect of Christians religiously observe Lent and why we as a body of Christ are encouraged to participate in the Lenten season?
This year I am attempting to participate in Lent intentionally this year. One of the things I would like to abstain from is secular music.
Okay so first of all, let’s back track to first understand what lent is all about?
Why Do We Lent?
What is Lent?
Lent is a time of repentance and turning back to God. It is a moment when we honestly evaluate and truthfully access ourselves and our walk with Christ? Have we been as Christ like as we are called to be? Are we truly walking what we are talking about? This can be quite difficult to self reflect. As a young child I always equated Lent (and to some extent even now in my adult years), as simply a catholic practice that requires abstaining from anything ‘worldly’. For some people that could be food, others it’s their tv shows, the music they typically listen to or the type of clothes they chose to wear or whatever it may be!
But Lent goes beyond just working to prune our new year resolutions, it requires a surrendering to the transformative power of God and trusting that:
So why music specifically? Well as Christians in the 21st century this can be one of the daily battles we face. Generally Lent accompanies fasting form food and reading and deeper devotion of the Word, this should be done ideally to accompany any participation in Lent. Personally, I have always seen music as therapeutic for the soul so I considered as part of my Lent period why not fully immerse myself in soul edifying music. As a young adult it can be difficult sometimes to abstain from secular music because it is just so prevalent around us in the malls, sometimes in the workplace and with the rise of different genres like Afrobeats as well as social media platforms like TikTok, how do we not get easily distracted in this day and age?
Well, it was no easy feat but with years of gathering some expo and getting information of the awesome AfroGospel artists that are up and coming, I can share a short playlist of some songs curated.
We have to be very careful the types of content we consume on a daily and that we allow feed into our souls and therefore our psych. It is what we have within us that comes out during our toughest moments.
More than that the recent release of Nathaniel Bassey (a Gospel artist) ‘Names of God‘ album really prompted me to want to start a new series that entails deep diving into the various personalities of God that we see through his various names and revelations to people in the Bible and ultimately to us.
I am excited to embark on this journey and delve deeper into the Names and thus the Characters of God that stands out to me the most in this season of life. I hope you enjoy the series. I hope these suggested albums and playlist is useful and helpful to you someone.
And whether you choose to participate in Lent or not, or chose to learn more about it. Let us all continue to seek God more and draw nearer to the heart of the Father.
It is allowing the Holy Spirit exercise restraint over our natural impulses, emotions and desires such that our flesh is subdued and our Spirit is heightened.
Self Control is Control of Self
The self we refer to here is the selfish tendencies that want to grant pleasure to our flesh and human desires. You might ask why is this bad? After all God has given us this human desires because we are human. But the title verse states that not everything we have the right to do, or that our human bodies desires is essential beneficial for us. More than that we know that our spiritual nourishment is of way more importance than being able to boast about our natural exploits;
Philippians 3:3 (ESV)
"For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—"
Self Control goes beyond the usual suspects in terms of controlling our sexual desires and appetites’. It also involves an over indulgence in luxurious items that can cause our spiritual antenna to become weakened. Things like food, an overindulgence in social media, in attention, in buying material possessions, in our anger/emotions or in anything else that seems to have an unhealthy control over us.
Soldiers and Athletes exercise Self-Control
If we use the analogy of a soldier on duty, who cannot engage in certain things that everyone else does and must discipline themselves in order to be sharp and ready for duty. On a less serious note, let’s consider the professional athletes like NBA players, someone like Lebron James has been in the NBA League for close to 20 years, has to be incredibly disciplined with how he spends his time, the type of foods he eats, the activities he engages with and the content he consumes. He must exercise intense self-control in times such as the NBA playoffs which consequently tend to fall around the summer time around May-June, when everyone else is living their best life and enjoying the summer. Yet, as someone who has been to the NBA playoffs 10 times, he’s had to make some tough sacrifices in order to give himself and his team the opportunity to have a chance to win the NBA Championship. It’s the same with our Christian race. The funny thing is we have the best personal trainer and cheat code in the person of the Holy Spirit.
He is there to guide and teach us as that still small voice telling us when we need to steer clear of that guy or girl that might be taking us a dangerous path, or that will caution us when we are eating too much of that particular thing, or spending too much time on that particular app, or spending too much money in that area, or speaking too harshly or reacting too quickly in certain situations. Whatever the vice is, only we can know and the Holy Spirit can check us individually. We know that sometimes a good thing isn’t necessarily the God thing. It’s all about prioritizing and setting boundaries because unlike a NBA Championship that only lasts for a human lifetime, we are in the journey to win a heavenly price which is for eternity.
1 Corinthians 9: 25 - 27 (ESV)
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
The bible says that anyone without self-control is likened to:
Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)
"A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."
I’m sure none of us what to be known as people without any boundaries. This means anything goes and everything goes. It might sound like we are just going with the flow and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the truth is without structure and boundaries chaos will ensue. We have never seen a prospering city or country that is thriving without any regulation or fortification. If you know any please comment below, but I can confidently state at the time of writing this that there is none. Therefore, why would we want to govern our own lives in such a frivolous manner. Instead the weapons of our warfare are not carnal and we do not easily give in to what our flesh dictates, rather we adhere to what the Word says in Ephesians 6:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm"
Ephesians 6: 10-13 (ESV)
Typically linked to humility and meekness. Therefore, it is strength under control. It is called the grace of the soul and is grace provided to our souls by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Gentleness being closely linked to humility means it’s not self-seeking and not just solely based on its own self-interest. Rather it seeks the good of others. Nobody is inherently gentle, even if some people are more pre-disposed due to their personality, nature or nurture (environment). Yet, given the right (or wrong) conditions and dispositions anybody can act out. But the grace of the Holy Spirit at work in our soul exhibits through humility and in gentleness.
1 Peter 3:4 (AMP)
"but let it be [the inner beauty of] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature] which is very precious in the sight of God"
Jesus Christ offers us his gentle Spirit when we lay our burdens at His feet and entrust the totality of our being into His able hands:
Matthew 11: 29 (AMP)
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.
Our gentleness is not because we are unaware or unperplexed by the issues and storms raging around us rather we are submitted to the authority of an Holy God.
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,
We tend to be stubborn and strong headed and wanting to show our power. We believe in coming off as tough or brash so we are not being walked over by other people and by life situations. The truth of the matter is that in gentleness is our strength. It is the grace of the soul. Only those that have something worth submitting can submit. Holding onto a resemblance of power we think we have, will likely end up looking foolish in the long run. But, when we stay calm and entrust ourselves and battles into the hands of an able God, He goes to battle on our behalf. I mean, who wants to face the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! Just stand still and watch the salvation of God go before you. But in our standing still we must exercise humility of heart.
Humility – Other above Self
We must think of others above ourselves. This means we love our neighbor and offer them the same grace we offer ourselves or would hope for others to offer us in that same situation. We do not respond in harsh tones if we do not like being spoken to in a harsh tone. It means we are respectful and considerate of how other people like to be treated. We want to love our loved ones using their love language right, and not just loving them the way we want to be loved, because we understand that we are different types of people.
Ultimately Christ was the prime example of a gentle soul. Going to the cross as a sacrificial lamb even though he was also the lion of the tribe of Judah but to fulfill the will of His Heavenly Father, he submitted himself.
We see Him advocating on behalf of those that betrayed Him saying
"And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing His clothes among themselves. "
Even as they were still in the middle of dividing His clothes and His belongings. The man wasn’t even dead yet they were making a claim to His possessions, basically saying “we can’t wait for you to die”. Yet God in gentleness and with a humility of heart realized this people were in the dark and completely unaware of their evil deeds. He advocated on their behalf and understanding His purpose and their part in the larger scheme of things, he wasn’t bitter or enraged about it. He felt his feelings when He cried Father
"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me..."
But yet he showcased his Fully God and Fully Man nature by immediately stating
What better way to round off International Women’s Day and continue the series of unraveling all it means to be ‘A Girl On A Mission’.
A few years back I wrote a piece on the Importance of Finding Your Tribe and in moments when we experience turbulence and it is important we have a wholesome and healthy community around us for support. In a turbulent year when that was needed, God brought the right community. As stated in the previous blog, there were a host of things I had hoped to achieve by the time I turned 25 years old and the reality wasn’t quite the case. After having a series of conversations with family, some friends, an awesome community and ultimately in my communion with God I have better clarity and developed a greater capacity to trust in God. Aunty Yemi was a member of my community that I reached out to and she offered so many nuggets of wisdom that all cannot be shared and packaged in this one blog!
Here are just a few things she shared that I think might be useful for other people as well.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
God divinely orchestrates our steps and places people in our lives in order to align our steps according to His will and purpose for our lives.
God’s timing is always perfect. He places the right people and the right opportunities in our path such that He will be glorified.
Hebrews 11: 24
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
Always be willing to learn and to change. As living people we will always be evolving and changing over time. Understanding that everything works together for our good. When we have tried our best with a particular situation and we are at a roadblock, we must learn to trust in God, pray and go get some needed rest.
Our testimonies are not just for ourselves but for others as well. God stretches our capacity not so we can boast in our strengths and capabilities but so we have a wealth of experiences and a bank of testimonies to draw from that can help counsel and encourage others.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Engage yourself fully in whatever season of life you are currently in. We are told to remember the Lord God in our youth but we must understand that even though we feel busy now, we can always make room for more. Our capacity is indeed limitless
STAY BUSY AND STAY OCCUPIED IN THE ARENAS GOD HAS CALLED US TO.
1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
The idea of a woman becoming is represented as a marathon and not a sprint. In the marathon race you have several pit stops that require refueling with different people contributing to your sustenance one way or the other by providing snacks or providing water. Either way they are giving you the resources required to get you to the finished line. That is the same thing in our journey to becoming. Our community and the people God brings into our lives at every season and every point in time is to form and mold us into the people we need to become.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Ultimately, to me a woman becoming now means that our worth and identity is found in Christ. It’s always been a thing to realize that only that which we do for Christ really lasts. That could be your work for Christ in your career, in your family life, with how you steward your finances or how you take care of your community. In whatever way that appears to be, we each have different spheres of influence that God has called us to.
May we not despise or covet another person’s position.
May God grant us the heart and posture to wait for His divine time and season for OUR lives.
May we run OUR race with patient endurance and with the joy of the Lord going before us.
May we live with reckless abandon in the arms of our Father such that at the end of our race, the Heavens will welcome us home and we ourselves will be proud to go home.
May we be women of virtue and women of substance and women of grace.
That is a quarter of a century. Ever heard of a quarter life crisis? Lmao, that is what 2021 felt like. BUT;
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."
I will be sharing a few bible verses that we can always refer back to to remind ourselves of the goodness and faithfulness of God. The bible says
"They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
they were willing to die for Christ."
Revelations 12:11 (MSG)
This blog post hopes to be a reminder when things may appear bleak again, God is THE redeemer and a great restorer of ALL things 1 Peter 5: 6-11
Lamentations 3: 20 – 26 a great reference that whenever our soul is downcast we call on our memories of a good God, we trust Him and learn to patiently run to Him as our help and our savior. He is the lover of our soul and wants to see us prosper even as our soul prospers.
So let’s get into it shall we.
25 year old
It blows my mind when I think of the fact that little, old me has been on this earth for 25 years. It is quite fascinating that as a young girl my expectations and the image I had of someone at that age is totally grandiose and extraordinary. I’m not too sure where those ideas came from, but I can blame it on societal expectations, cultural influences and unhealthy mindsets, but somehow it was a mindset I unknowingly found myself succumbing too even if I ebbed and flowed through what I took on. I would like to think of myself as someone that doesn’t always like to fall into societal expectations and to fit the mold people tell me to. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my creator God, therefore I am one of one. That is to say there is only one Toluwabori Morenike Ajidagba on planet earth.
Yet, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled.
In fact I feel a stagnancy in my career and academic goals. That added with feeling like rather than heading towards developing some financial goals it was like I was moving away from them. Relationally in fact let’s not even go there. It was a great blessing to hear and see from afar a few people I knew get married and begin the journey to start their own families. Yet somehow I felt like I was on the outskirts of this and not able to fully participate in this new season everyone else seemed to be in.
Say self-entitlement much? I say self-entitled because I went so far as to neglect what I felt God called me to do because I was feeling some type of way.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may increase? 2 God forbid! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?"
Romans 6:1-2 (MEV)
It raised questions and inadequacies within myself as I felt was I not good enough to be blessed with an thriving career as well, to soar in my academics, to be financially buoyant and to have purposeful and mutually edifying relationships? But now l have experiential knowledge that indeed God works all things together for our good. Who remembers this bible verse in John 9:3 (NIV) that said:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."
It’s not because of something inherently wrong with this person but situations occurred so that God will be glorified in the most beautiful and awe- inspiring way.
If what I called ‘the quarter life crisis‘ hadn’t happened, I would never have had a self-reflecting period. I would never have thought to put this blog post together and publish it for several eyes to read. But from this word of my testimony, I can share with others the knowledge and insight God gave me during this period and hopefully it can be useful to to draw others close to the Father as well.
The transformation really began with a mindset shift. One of my favorite bible verses says
"Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
Romans 12:2 (MSG)
It required a mindset shift and the divine help of the Holy Spirit and yielding to that same Holy Spirit to change things. Guys, the battlefield of the mind is a real thing. It can manifest in the form of depression and mental health battles but I have never seen a battle that hasn’t already been won by the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Let’s not even approach the dark thoughts that plagued one’s mind during this period and the depression that clogged one’s mind. But as I said it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. It is only when you leave a dark pit and enter into glorious light that you can compare how wretched the previous state really was.
Even in terms of taking care of myself and caring about my appearance and how I presented myself I was at an all-time low. When you see someone not putting effort or being their normal self, it might be helpful to reach out as much as you can and check in with them. But glory be to God for the few times I was able to get up but some balm on the lips and stand. Grateful to loved ones that helped me in someway or another during this period. Listening to me rant, praying for me and over me, crying with me, providing counsel, calling and checking up on me, speaking word of life and refreshment over me and just generally being present even while I was in a funk. Ultimately I needed an encounter with the living God to breathe life back into those dead areas of my life. Those places I had lost hope in and was feeling hopeless. I needed the light of God to come into those areas. It was time to be brutally honest with God and but away all pretenses. It is only God we can truly be open and vulnerable with. Sometimes human beings are there to support us but they are not our creator, therefore cannot provide all that our soul desperately needs.
See God can only help and assist us in those areas we show to Him and not just what we want to neatly present before Him.
So I have come to remind someone and maybe my future self that we are worthy not because of what we bring, or the roles we play or what we can offer people. We are worthy because we belong to Jesus Christ. He has declared us worthy. We are sons and daughters of the most High God.
Now we do not neglect the fact that if you do NEED help, please reach out and check out therapy opportunities near you. These days there are so many Christian based counsellors and therapists that can help. One of the resources I have found is Dr. Anita Phillips, she is an incredible therapist that uses biblical understanding to support psychological treatments. Therapy is not just for when things start going wrong, but if you feel led to try therapy please do! So many people we see outside fighting unknown battles that do not show on the face but yet is weighing heavy on the heart and soul. God knows. We can lay our burdens on Him. He will always present a way and some form of relief. He never puts us in situations greater than what we can handle. He is always providing and showing a way out either through His Word or through his hands and feet on Earth in the form of a brother or a sister or through inspired songs. We just have to lean into His ever present help. Sometimes you need someone to lean into, to hold you up before you can even enter and draw from God’s help.
Ultimately I learnt that a quarter life crisis is not a real thing but a fallacy. One of my biggest lessons during this period is learning to live beyond my feelings. Yes, feelings are valid and we are allowed to feel them but they are not always true and we should not base our actions and live our lives solely based on fleeting emotions.
I am well into my 25th year on earth and I am loving what God is doing in this season. I am learning to lean into Him and trust Him. Laying all my desires at His feet trusting that His plans are greater than I could EVER fathom.
Our testimony as minute as it may seem or as much as we do not want to post it on the world wide web (HELLO!), yet if just one person can receive hope and be reminded to draw close to Jesus, to bring their burdens to Him, then post away! To see the goodness and faithfulness in the life of this young girl on a mission and see how God redeemed what seemed to be a hopeless and desolate situation, He can surely and He will surely do it for you.
We just need to draw into Him.
Draw Near to Him
It is in quietness and gentleness that we will receive strength. Are you looking to find fulfilment or fullness of joy in our career, family, relationships, finances or otherwise ? As great and amazing as these things are, looking for fulfilment in these things apart from God is folly, because none of those things WILL truly satisfy our souls. We will always be left wanting more, it can only fill us for a moment. God is the everlasting well that never runs dry. That means He is able and capable to keep sustaining and replenishing our souls.
"He satisfies me with good things
and makes me young again, like the eagle."
Only God has the ability to satisfy our desires with good things. He takes our desires, repurposes and reshapes it according to His will so that it:
fits His agenda for the betterment of our soul and brings fulfilment and pleasure for us
brings glory to his name and advances His Kingdom.
He renews our youth and we do not tire ourselves out by chasing after those things in our understanding and strength but rather we lean into Him and trust Him to be our Jehovah Jireh (God Our Provider).
Girl on a Mission
We will always be people on a mission as long as God has put breath in our lungs and as long as we are present in our mortal bodies on this earth. But as a woman becoming all God has purposed her to be, I can understand that I will always need to draw on the strength of my heavenly Father and have certain moments when I really draw from my awesome and loving community to get me through tough times. That is the only way we can do this thing called life successfully.
For me this mean practically writing out my goals and allowing myself to pivot in my career path. It meant connecting and networking with people in the same academic station with me to encourage and motivate each other. It means financially planning for my future and learning things pending the time I will be ready to actually set and achieve those goals. Relationally it means addressing certain issues within myself, and first of all reminding myself that having purposeful relationships is very important to me. Learning to allow myself to desire a committed and intentional relationship that will one day lead to a God honoring marriage and to build a kingdom minded family.
Whatever might look like a crisis to you, invite God into your situations and He can provide ways to defuse the situation and bring about divine peace and clarity.
This speaks of a reliable and steadfast nature that is rooted in following through with what we say we will do and in staying committed to the cause whatever that may be.
It requires being focused, trustworthy and loyal to the cause. We achieve this by staying committed and in continued submission to Christ and His word. We are obedient to the yielding of the Holy Spirit and are committed to following through the foundations laid by His Word.
One thing I know for sure, is that God is faithful! In sharp contrast to the feeble nature of human beings. We can try our very best to be faithful in our human understanding yet we it can be difficult to commit for the long haul.
But we have a Heavenly Father that’s faithful to us regardless of our faithlessness. It’s a part of his nature that he cannot abandon his children or a project. Everything we have ever needed at every point in time God has shown up for us.
That is what comes to mind when I think of the faithfulness of God. Not like the faithfulness of man but God is ever steadfast, every sure and ALWAYS shows up all the time AND at the right time. God exists outside the confines of any restrictions. He is an uncreated creator therefore He does no have the human fallacies we as human beings have that sometimes makes us lose faith or makes us decrease in our commitments. God is fully committed to us.
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.”
Psalms 36:5 NLT
God helps no punches or has any reservations when it comes to us as His children. We see God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. The beauty of God’s sovereignty is that He is in control and does as He pleases. And we already established last week that ultimately God is good. Therefore all that He does is ultimately for our good.
In Deuteronomy 28 we see that God is faithful to His Word above all. He told his people these are my commandments and my decrees, you keep them these are the blessings coming your way, you disobey them here are the consequences (please read it back at your own pace and leisure, this is a brief/fleeting summary).
But God isn’t just faithful when we are faithful. This bible chapter shows that above all else God is faithful to His word and exactly as he said was what he did to the Israelites back in the day.
This same God of the Old Testament still has that faithful attribute even though the consequences has become a little bit buffered because and through the person of Jesus Christ.
We still remember that obedience is required for faithful living.
Jesus Christ: Faithful Servant
This is seen most clearly (I feel like I have said this in every fruit of the spirit breakdown but it is absolutely true!), in the person of Jesus Christ. He was faithful to the end. Even till going to death on a cross for our sake.
Hebrews 3:6 (NIV)
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory
Jesus Christ as our example was firmly rooted and had his foundation in God. He was faithful over God’s House meaning ‘He don’t play about his Father’s business‘. He ensured that he was faithful in doing everything God called Him to do. His role as Son over God’s House means He is our authority figure. If we indeed are God’s House as the Church then that means we are to hold onto His example that it is possible to be faithful as well.
May God help us to be faithful in all our commitments. To be faithful servants in His house, faithful workers and stewards, faithful children, faithful spouses, faithful parents and faithful students.
We cannot faithfulness by ourselves. Despite all our unfaithfulness God remains faithful to us all. He is faithful to us but also faithful to Himself and to his nature.
"If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is."2 Timothy 2:13
He cannot deny Himself. We need to submit to God totally in order to share in the rich blessings and glory of being known as his faithful servant.
Who doesn’t want to hear at the end of this life journey
"Well done, my good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in handling the small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!"
That story in Matthew 25 showcases perfectly how faithfulness works. It’s not a case of we are faithful and we get rewarded and that’s the end. It starts from a place of understanding and realizing that whatever God has placed us as stewards over is a great responsibility. It isn’t base on our ability or what we think of ourselves. We have been called to a higher assignment and we trust that the One that assigned us to it will provide the necessary skills and resources to bring it to fruition. Our job as faithful servants is to invest the seeds he has given to us. To reap bountiful fruits for His kingdom. The result then becomes that He gives us more responsibilities not so we can boast but because;
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities."
Luke 16:10 NLT
If our aim is to be more like Jesus Christ who was faithful to the very end ensuring that he completed his mission on Earth and went to the cross no matter how difficult and painful it was. We can harness the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to ensure we are faithful to complete the greater mission God has placed us on earth to do. Be like the faithful servants in Matthew 25: 20-23:
1. Face Your own work
2. Place your focus on your kingdom assignment and talent
3. Run your race with endurance and invest in God’s investments in you
4. Bring forth fruitful returns and always submit it back to the Master
This month to celebrate International Women’s Month and in particular, International Women’s Day (March 8th), we will be starting a short spotlight series on #WomenBecoming as part of the #GirlOnAMission movement. It was an absolute pleasure to interview Susan Ajayi on her experiences traveling to Ghana as a young woman.
Thrilist recently published an article that highlighted the discrepancy in seeing the black traveler narrative online even though the contribution monetarily was quite large, yet somehow there wasn’t much of a narrative of the young black woman traveler, Why? Well, whatever the reason we must saturate the media with imagery and narratives of young black women travelers until it become normalized.
Back to the Homeland
2019 was commissioned as the Year of Return by Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo as an invitation to Africans in the Diaspora to forge ties and connections with their African brothers and sisters back home. Alternatively, In Nigeria the month of December has long been popularized as “Detty December” as a time notorious for Africans in the diaspora to return for premium enjoyment in food, entertainment and much more. The returnees being labeled ‘IJGB’ meaning ‘I Just Got Back‘ are very apparent at this time.
Personally, I remember a few years ago seeing Instagram flooded by successful Africans in the diaspora such as Luvvie Ajayi, Bozoma Saint-John, Yvonne Orji and Boris & Nicole Kodjoe’s highlighting the beauty of the continent and showing others and their large audience that there is beauty in the modern motherland.
Susan saw this positive imagery just like me and she actually decided to do something about it! Susy is a twenty something Nigerian currently living in London, she works from home as a Project Administrator. Hope you learn a few things and are inspired by her experiences!
Why did you decide to travel to Ghana?
I decided to go to Ghana because in 2019 because of the YEAR OF RETURN initiative, I saw a lot of black celebrities in the US go back and I was also inspired to go back. But because of the coronavirus lockdown I had to postpone my trip in 2020. I didn’t know much about tourism in Ghana and my experience traveling to Nigeria was that I didn’t get to really explore anytime I went as I spent most time with family. I wanted to actually experience West Africa for myself as an adult.
What was your process for planning such an intricate trip and cultivating this new experience?
Wind Collective is a travel group company that sparked my interest from social media and I decided to do my research into them. The process wasn’t too complicated but was fairly easy on the website. They take care of a lot of things, like transportations, access, and activities. Although, the flight and itinerary prices were separate. They planned an all-inclusive trip including activities as well as food (breakfast and dinner). Evenings were our time as a group to explore the city together and attend events happening locally.
West Africa is one of the best places to be in the world with a rich culture, diversity. I will recommend the experience.
INTERVIEW NOTE: Wind Collective is a global travel company and one of its co-founders being @movewithdoyin! Another awesome woman who chronicled her traveling journey on Instagram a few years back (I actually used to follow her page back then until I realized her traveling reality was very far from my budget student reality at the time, lool), it’s awesome to see things come full circle and to see her actualize her goals.
How did you manage with COVID? Preparation. I had to bring so many documents and had to create a folder on my phone to ensure I had all the right documents. Took 4 PCR tests in total when leaving and coming back to London and these had to be pre-booked beforehand and arranged. money was spent alone on COVID testing. This was the part of the trip I enjoyed the least with having to take so many tests and having to check the requirements.
How was your experience like travelingwith a group of friends?
I wasn’t too worried about that as the agency was reputable and if you are going to be spending money to travel surely it’s a guarantee that vibes will be had by all. It helps that everyone had good intentions and were friendly because that reduces any issues. We created a Whatsapp group before traveling to coordinate things and even had a meeting at the airport so we could start getting to know each other better. We were also quite busy having a good time and enjoying the experiences.
What were some places you visited and which activities stood out to you ?
Our trip to the Cape Coast Castle, which is a monument used during the transatlantic slave trade to hold captives for months before being shipped to the US. It was such a moving and beautiful experience to see the space and area people were held captive yet being able to come back there as a free person. It’s closeness to the beach and the sea highlights a beautiful background with such terrible memories. Will definitely want to go back to the Cape Coast it has a vibe I really liked, and I can’t really explain it.
In addition, from the itinerary itself I enjoyed cooking different ghanaian recipes and just spending time with the people. The resort we stayed at was a family run business by a local woman and her adult children and we would have sessions of dancing and singing songs coming back home. It brought a unifying experience with being a Nigerian but yet being home in Ghana, I felt like I was back home. West African culture in general is very welcoming and warm.
What are some of the key takeaways you have from the trip?
It was refreshing to be in a different environment. Living in London we can get used to living the fast paced life but taking a step away from the city, I was able to breathe a bit more. I felt more relaxed and happier and could smile more and release some tension. I appreciated the welcoming nature and seeing people trying to help each other. Africans are generally more open and warm.
Taking trips like this is something I aspire to continue in the future. I am familiar with the hustler babe mentality because I want to be comfortable but I also want to live a life I can enjoy. Your environment can determine the quality of your life. Of course there are people who are struggling there but in the future I see myself living in West Africa and the possibility has become open to me.
The trip has made me think about life in London and how living is very confined and with a lot of hustle. I am proud of my heritage, I love being Black and African!
Tips for Trip Planning?
1. Ensure you research the travel agency you plan to work with. Check their testimonials and check their social media pages and see what people are saying in the comments.
2. Budget, ensure you have enough saved to account for your trip. There might be costs you didn’t plan for. Look into travel insurance, which is still a good thing to have. Have extra cash in case of emergencies.
3. Research the country and destination you are going to and look to see what you need to do. Don’t leave it last minute in case you have to pay for things like a visa.
Advice for budding travelers?
You can travel anywhere, it doesn’t have to be somewhere magnificent or even somewhere international. Spend more time considering what is important to you in life, and this can make you even more productive. Take time to reflect, explore your world to realize what is best for you and what you’d like to do with your life. Be open to the possibilities, you may have an idea how you want things to be and then you might end in Bali doing community service
Do not be too rigid but yet travel responsibly, respect the culture and the land and the people. Give back if you can as you are taking a lot of nice memories with you.
This can sometimes be synonymous with kindness but essentially anything that is morally right and beneficial.
In Philippians, Paul gives parting words to the church saying;
Whatsoever things are excellent, profitable, useful, beneficial and morally right for the advancement of the Gospel (known as the good news)is what we engage in. There is a reason why the Gospel is called the Good News. Possessing moral goodness and integrity. Goodness means avoiding evil and all its appearances and holding on to what is right.
Goodness does not react to evil but absorbs the offense and responds with positive action.
Sometimes this can be linked with justice and fighting for the oppressed and marginalized in society because according to Psalm 112:7
"Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice"
In addition, I love the plain definition in Micah 6:8 (ERV)
"Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what he wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God."
There it is plain and simple in the Word. Goodness is seen in our actions but it requires not only doing good but being good. In being good we know that no one is good except God. So our goodness comes from us allowing the Holy Spirit rule in our hearts such that that uprightness of heart is exercised within us.
The Good thing vs The God thing
One of the greatest signs we are maturing in our walk with Christ is that we can discern the “good things” from “God things”. What might look good and morally conscious from the human perspective it may not necessarily be the God thing right there and then.
The goodness of God always looks at things from a heavenly and kingdom perspective. Imagine being one of the disciples when Jesus was narrating the story of how he will be crucified. Matthew 16: 21-27, is the breakdown of Jesus explaining the process to the disciples. Obviously the good thing was to rebuke Jesus, as a disciple who loved him deeply, I can only imagine the disciples wondering why He was narrating such terrible things. In fact, it can appear shocking that Jesus rebukes Peter in verse 23 saying;
“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
I feel touched on Peter’s behalf! He brought felt like he was doing the right thing but it wasn’t the ‘God thing’ meaning it wasn’t aligned with God’s perfect plan with bringing redemption to the human race. It was an excellence of character and the God nature in Jesus that caused him to choose to do the God thing over the good thing. He could have easily chosen to keep on living since he was saving lives and healing people right? Surely, he would be more useful alive than dead? But there was a bigger goal in mind. The eternal salvation of souls was at stake.
And because Jesus Christ choose to walk that path to the Cross, you and I have been ransomed and brought back into perfect relationship with God. That good deed Jesus followed through on can inspire us all to go out and live out the nature of Christ in us.
In order for us to exhibit God’s goodness in us and maintain that uprightness of heart, we need to spend time in the presence of God continually. Therefore, the prayer for us all is that;