Something New: A Recipe

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT).

I need newness in my life!

My phone is dying, my laptop is dead, my clothes are worn and torn; I need a car, a job, money; I need to be fully funded by January but I am only 7% funded; student loans are piling up and I am just tired of Sallie Mae calling, emailing, and sending me letters; my body is in pain, my heart is heavy; I’m struggling with loneliness, heartache, self esteem…. I can continue but I’ll stop. It’s been the same story since the beginning of 2015; 2016 is almost here and I desire a new song!

It’s in this state of mind that I approached God. Immediately, the Isaiah 43 passage came to my mind. I love the NIV use of the word “perceive” because it’s God asking me, “My daughter, I AM doing something new with you, but why aren’t you aware of it yet?” I had no answer; I still don’t. But, God still extended His grace to me by calling my attention to today’s verse of the day, Hebrews 11:1. My response was what that boy’s father told Jesus, ” ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ ” (Mark 9:24, ESV). I wasn’t trying to be smart with God, but I was being sincere.

I do want to perceive what God is doing in my life, but my myopic view makes it impossible to even imagine. Do you get what I mean? I do want to trust and believe and live knowing that God’s thoughts and plans for me are good, but it is hard when things seem unchanging. However, I can’t ignore God’s message to me to perceive (become aware, be conscious of the fact, understand, realize, look through the eyes of the Spirit) the work He is doing in me. I must also take it by faith and wait for the manifestation of His work and promises for me.

Therefore, I believe the newness I desire is coming– in fact, it is here! My car, my phone, my laptop, funding, clothes, job, money, vision, growth, self-love, etc. are here– I even desire to have new prayers requests, to stop asking for forgiveness for the same things! If God is my God, then I must believe that His perfect will (what I truly desire) for me is the best for me. All I need is a dash of faith, a whole lot of waiting, and an extra dose of keeping my heart on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable… excellent or praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8, NIV). Changing old habits is hard, but even old dogs can learn new tricks!

So, I have a new journey, something I wasn’t looking for– but my God always knows what I need…

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Waiting: Spoken (Written) Word

I told myself I’ll wait for you…
But innocence was stolen by “Uncle”,
ripped
from my tender heart.
So I gave up.
Stained.

Fast forward:
thought I had found you-
how foolish of me:
wasn’t it supposed to be reversed…
Thought his “love” was going
to cover the multitude of my sins-
but my sin became a burden too
heavy for him to bear.

So I bore myself to myself
and crashed under the weight
of my own burdened lust
that was laid up in my wicked heart-
my heart, too crushed to be revived
by fleeting moans and momentary pleasures.
Until
I saw His love crushed for me
on that wooden tree.
There, battered, was Christ,
broken for me,
under the burden of my sins.
Yet He rose again, victorious,
giving me a new slate,
burden free, without stain.

Fast forward:
I thought I had found you
again…
A baby in Christ, sipping on that milk,
I gave my old self reign,
even though I am new.
Flesh yielded to flesh,
forgetting that only He
can present me unstained
unto Himself,
but he chose to lie in sin with me,
presenting me unto himself,
unholy,
again
stained…

So I stained my heart
with hate and regret
and the shame became too
much for me
and I longed for grace
that will bring me back to Him
so I tried and I worked and I slaved
but could never really
get it right,
so I fled…
Until
Mercy found me,
crashed into me,
I was ruined,
blinded.
He showed me my end, without you,
without Him.
He removed the scales
from my eyes so I could see
the wrong in what
I thought was right!

So here I am.
With this new light in my eyes,
the clean heart inside of me
I am telling you, husband,
even though I do not know you,
I will wait for you.
I will wait to be found by you.
You are the one God made me
for and from— the man made from
the second Adam,
presented holy, to present me holy to Him.
You have the perfect combination
given only by Him who kept me, hidden,
from me, for you,
to unlock the deepest crevices of my heart.
You know what it means to
love me with the love of Christ,
you know what it is to love me
the way Christ loves his church—
I am the Ephesians 5:25—
to present me to my Father,
without stain or blemish,
only by His grace.

So, I will wait
to be found by you
and I won’t give myself
to every cubic zirconia— false gods
pretending to reflect the true image of the One
who paid the price for me,
His bride.

So, I will wait
for you
to find me—He found me—
And pursue me with the
relentless love,
reckless abandon,
reverent fear of the Lord—
the way only you—He—can.
But understand this:
you are not my Father,
so if God chooses,
in His sovereignty,
to have me love and serve Him
alone
I will wait on Him—
Yet I am never alone,
for He will never leave me, but you can;
for He will never abandon me, but you can.

And at least, death wouldn’t do us part.

A Letter

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).

Dear Agents,

To everyone who has ever hurt me: thank you.

I hated you but now I appreciate you.

You tried to bury me and sell me, but you facilitated my move from prison to palace. You tried to cheat me and not give me what I had worked for, but you facilitated my change of heart so much so I fought with God and He changed my name. You tried to keep me captive but you only pushed my Father in Heaven to react on my behalf and bring me to my land of milk and honey. You tried to pursue me and kill me because of the glory of God in me but you just allowed God to mold me into the daughter after His own heart, forever adoring and singing praises to His name. You tried to break my heart and pursue others while I waited for you, devoted to you, but you only allowed God to work in me and show me how to love unconditionally, how to work for something you love, mirroring Him in this world, molding me to become the woman clothed in Proverbs 31.

You tried to drown me but God came to my rescue. You tried to kill me but I am alive in Christ. You tried to bury my spirit but now the Holy Spirit resides in me. You tried to blind me but God removed the scales and gave me new sight and vision. You tried to get rid of me, tried to finish me off with loneliness but God met me and gave me this divine revelation: you are just facilitator to my destiny.

I am still standing, stronger only because of Him, wiser because He gives me wisdom, loving because He has loved me through it all. I just hope one day you will taste and see that the Lord is good and you will appreciate Him even for your suffering.

Thank you! I am knowing Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering; I am becoming more like my Father, which is my goal.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
The seed you tried to bury

Late night musings…

I am trying to sleep. I have a long day ahead of me, but I guess my body is so used to waking up at anytime — I am yet to find a job, so all I do is pretty much wake up and let the day go however it wants to go. But I have to set my alarm clock, you know; hope I wake up on time. Pray for me.

Anyway, I’m just here thinking about what I should write for today. It’s freestyle Friday, as I’d like to call it, meaning I can write whatever I want. I was thinking about writing a poem, but I don’t really want to. So I’ll just jot a few things down and I hope it blesses you somehow.

√ The new Hillsong Worship album is great! It has been on repeat for 9 days now. Each time I get more familiar with the songs and I love them more and more. That should be my relationship with God.
√ I watched a movie called, The Loft. Talk about a twist! At the end, though, I didn’t think all the swearing was necessary. I enjoyed the movie overall, though — I love psychological thrillers!
√ People grieve in different ways, and some ways can be hurtful… I honestly believe only God can heal people the right way.
√ For some days now I’ve been wondering more than usual about someone liking my pictures on Facebook — I just really want that person to talk to me! Perhaps I’m developing a crush?!?! Oh no!!!! I can’t be in my teenage mindset again. I’ll keep my eyes focused on Jesus instead. As long as He likes me, I’m good!
√ I really hope and pray that these writings bless people somehow. I have dreams and visions for this blog! I hope God uses all for His glory.
√ I’ll keep my blogs shorter.
√ I wonder how many people will read this…
√ I want to write!
√ Too sleepy right now.
√ Goodnight and God bless!

Even When it Hurts

heart

“Take this mountain weight. Take these ocean tears. Hold me through the trial, come like hope again” (“Even When It Hurts”, Hillsong).

I woke up this morning with heaviness in my heart. I didn’t understand it because nothing prompted it. So, I did what I know how to do; I prayed. What was supposed to be a regular praying time with my Father turned into a bawling session with my Counselor. I admitted to God that I didn’t even know why I was crying. God being God reminded me of Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (NIV). So, I just gave in, trusting that the Holy Spirit was at work. I was comforted that God knew what each tear represented. Did that make me feel better? No.

Once I start crying out loud, it is impossible for me to stop; I will continue until I am physically unable to cry anymore. As I cried, I kept thinking about the fact that I am hurting. This year has been one challenge after another, and I kept asking God this morning, “When will it end, God?!” I just want it all to end. I want to feel remembered by God. I admit to God that I felt like an afterthought on His list of people to help. I found myself saying, like David in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (verse 1, NIV). Truth is, even while writing this, I still feel hurt. But the question I posed to myself is this: Does that somehow change who God is?

God is constant. When He promises, He fulfills; His words are yea and amen; His thoughts and plans for me are not to hurt me but to give me hope and a future; I am worth the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Him… I can keep going, but it still doesn’t change the hurt I feel. Someone once told me that unfortunately for me, no one can help me or encourage me when I’m feeling down because I know the truth about who God is. I don’t want to be sad or depressed while knowing who God is and what He is about, but I am… Is that sinful? Is that bad? I don’t know.

While having my quiet time I only read Psalm 23, one of my favorite psalms. Verse 4 stood out to me, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). What this verse says to me is that just because I have a Shepherd doesn’t mean I won’t face trouble. The good news is that He is with me. My Shepherd has a rod– it is used to protect me from any evil that may want to come my way; it is also used to discipline me because my Shepherd loves me (Proverbs 3:12)– and a staff– this is used to comfort me and to direct my path. I should be comforted by these truths! I must be comforted by these truths!

I kept crying this morning, asking Jesus why He has forgotten about me– it seems to me as if everything coming my way is somehow delayed– but I had forgotten His promise to me that He will never leave me or abandon me ( Deuteronomy 31:6). What I need to do is get these truths to be heart knowledge. Walking is Jesus is HARD, friends! But if David can say even when– “when” means it will happen– he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he won’t be scared; if David can say this and believe it, then I can too! I think it was Charles Spurgeon who commented on this thought and said that a shadow means there is a light somewhere, meaning that God’s light (Jesus Christ) is ever present, even in the midst of my storms and challenges.

What is the application for me? Well, I need to feed more on the word of God until my very being believes it, until the Word of God becomes my bread and livelihood! I want to be able to praise God even when everything is crumbling down around me! I want to look at the storms in the eye and tell them that they are just fronting because my Shepherd has overcome the world. This is not to say that I won’t feel hurt, but it means that I won’t dwell on that hurt and be depressed all the time. God remains God regardless of what I go through or what I do, and I don’t want anything to cloud my view of Him.

Throughout this day I have been reciting verse 4 to myself, becoming more real to me each time. God is with me and He is for me. So, even when it hurts, even when the storms are throwing me all about, yet will I stand and praise my God whose steadfast love never ceases.

Funny thing, though, is that God laid a song in my heart which says, “You turned my mourning into dancing again. You lifted my sorrows, I can’t stay silent; I must sing for my joy has come!” I wonder if this was the same song David that was in David’s heart when he wrote this psalm.pic

Focus on the Unseen

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2nd Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

The above passage is one of my favorite passages for various reasons. For one, Paul, my spiritual mentor, wrote it; secondly, it is a passage that helped me focus on Jesus when I first became a believer; also, I used to memorize it and it reminded me of my future, which is in and with God in Heaven.

But how quickly we forget these truths, especially as we grow in our faith. Well, at least I’m speaking for myself.

Today has been a tough one for me. I have been internally struggling with myself and asking God to reveal Himself to me. You see, I desire to hear God, I desire to see Him move in a mighty way in my life, and I am excited for what He is doing; but I find myself getting weary because all I keep thinking about is when will God do it?! Maybe you can tell, but waiting is not really my forte– I know God is working on me.

I want to see God do something miraculous in my life and God is showing me, even as I am writing, how microwaveable I want it. I woke up this morning with an uncomfortable feeling in my mouth. I don’t even know how to describe it– it’s like something is moving back and forth inside my lower gum. I prayed that God should take it away because it was a familiar feeling; but the last time I had it was when I was still living Nigeria. Anyway, I prayed and it went away! I was so happy! But after my morning routine the feeling came back and it has been there since. I hate being uncomfortable, so you can imagine what I’m feeling right now. On top of that, I have been thinking about how I would go about the fundraising I have to do. I found myself asking God, “What’s going on? Why aren’t you moving?” 

It’s in the midst of this that the aforementioned verse came to my mind– I needed to hear from God, to focus on something other than what’s making my heart troubled; plus I wanted God to tell me what to write about. Like I said, this was a verse I memorized, but I didn’t do a good job memorizing the scripture because I was so sure it was in  Philippians 4:18; God being God gently corrected me. Anyway, I read the verse but  I felt in my heart that I needed to get a context for it so I read the book from chapter 1. Paul is basically talking about the new life we have in Jesus and the glory that comes with it, how the glory is great. He also talks about how the present sufferings we are experiencing pale in comparison to the glory of God, and this glory, this hope, (ought to) encourages us to not lose heart (2nd Corinthians 4:1, 16). And verse 18 is the conclusion of that admonition.

So, what does that have to do with me? Well, for one, it humbled me and reassured me that focusing on God is the way to go! I consider the feeling in my mouth a trouble because it is actually very uncomfortable, but the God who knows the intricacies of my body will fix it. Also, in regards to my fundraising, I just have to fix my eyes on God because I am doing His work, so He is with me. Whatever it is I am facing pales in comparison to the eternal glory of our God! When I get to Heaven I won’t be thinking about the money I need to raise or the body part that isn’t functioning properly. When I get to Heaven I’ll be with my Creator, beholding Him in the fullness of His glory! That is what I am looking forward to. And to spend eternity with God… My human mind can’t even begin to comprehend that!

What then? As I go about today, I’ll keep reminding myself to keep on keeping my eyes on God because whatever I need, ease or money or comfort or whatever else, I can get only from Him! Friends, keep focusing on God and everything else will work itself out because He is in control. Everything else is so temporary, so why focus on them? Let us focus on the One who was, is, and is to come!

Writing in Croatian

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NIV).

So, I’ve been learning Croatian for a few weeks now. I am really excited to be learning a language I hope to one day use in the future. I have been confused, frustrated, sad, etc… But one thing that has been keeping me going is that God created the language and I am relying on God for His grace to keep going and keep learning. Why do I want to learn? Because I fell in love in Croatia! I did and I want to be able to communicate with my friends who are Croatian.

The following is my freestyle for today. From the little that I’ve been learning, I have put together some sentences that say a little bit about me. Please excuse the mistakes :mrgreen:

Here goes:
Ja sam Elizabetha. Moja prijateljima zovu me kraljica. Ja sam dvadeseti i dva. Ja volim čitati i pisati i naučiti. Ja vjerujem u Boga i volim Boga. Moja obitelj je velika. Imam tri brata i dva sestre. Ja volim ljubičasta. Ja učim Hrvatski jer ja čelim pričati za mojim prijateljima u Hrvatskoj.

Ja sam sretna ali učiti Hrvatski je teško.

Translation: my name is Elizabeth. My friends call me queen. I am 23. I love to read and write and learn. I believe in God and I love God. My family is big. I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters. I love purple. I am learning Croatian because I want to talk with my friends in Croatia.

I am happy but learning Croatian is hard.

Thank you. Please keep me in your prayers!!!
How did I do?

Transformed

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2nd Corinthians 3:18, NIV).

First of all, God is good! I just can’t keep that to myself, neither can I say it enough. God is so good that when I think about His goodness towards me, I cry. But today is not about crying; it is a day of thanksgiving.

One aspect of God’s goodness that I have been enjoying is His power to transform! Friends, never underestimate the power of God to change your life and give you a whole new perspective, a new outlook, a new mind, etc. An example of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit is the story of Paul! Once called Saul, Paul was a Christian-hating-murdering Jewish man who was bent on destroying the disciples’ work after Jesus’ ascension. Jesus encountered him on his way to Damascus in Acts 9. This same guy was transformed by God to be the guy who planted churches, wrote a majority of the books in the New Testament, called himself a servant of Jesus in multiple letters, etc. I look at Paul and I want God to so transform my life that people will be wondering: who’s that girl? I want to know her God.

But I digress. So what does all of this have to do with me? God has already started his transformative work in my life. I had the chance to share a bit of my story with someone today and I realized my heart for people, especially my family, has changed.

I love my family, don’t get me wrong; but now I LOVE them! I love them with the love of Christ! I love them with the burden on my heart to get them closer to Jesus! I love them enough to care about their salvation and eternity. I love them enough to rebuke them and correct them. I love them so much that all I want is for them to know Jesus on an intimate level and be souled out for Him! I love them so much that I pray for them, intercede on their behalf. I love them enough to want to talk to them and check in on them and give them godly counsel and disciple them. I can keep going but I’ll stop.

This is not to brag. This is just to show what God has done in my heart. To be honest, before I surrendered to Christ, I was selfish. My family, though they mattered, were just people I was stuck with, so I had to tolerate them. Praying for them was a burden to me, caring for their wellbeing was forced out of me. I am not proud of this; I’m quite ashamed, honestly. But I thank God I am not who I was.

So I praise God for transforming me by the renewal of my mind and the changing of my heart.

This is my testimony. This new found love I have for my family doesn’t stop with them– it is extended to friends, neighbors, strangers, siblings in the Lord, etc. And let me tell you something, I am glad! I am glad that God has shown me mercy by allowing me to care as He does– although, He cares way more for them! And He cares way more for you!

Dear Husband,

Waiting for you hasn’t always been the easiest thing but I do know that it will be rewarding.

I know that God took me from your side for a reason, and I’ve been wondering what that reason is. You have already been chosen for me, by God Himself, which makes me happy because then I know that I won’t make a mistake– neither will you.

Do you know what I envision for us, to chase after God together, to raise our children in the love of Christ, modeling for them God’s vision! Are you on board with me, my love? I envision a marriage filled with service and love, honor and respect.

This love story of ours is epic! God is writing it, so why won’t it be awesome? ;):)

Anyway, that’s it! I had the urge to write to you. I hope one day you’ll read this and smile.

I am yours, darling, and you are mine.

Love you so much!

With love and eager expectation,
Your one and only Queen!

My Foundation, The Rock

“He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48, NIV).

I don’t know if you know the hymn “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”. The chorus says: On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. I don’t know about you but I want to have a solid foundation, one that won’t fail me when everything else is crumbling. And in my experience, Jesus is the only one.

I had an encounter today that really struck me. I am in a phase in my life where I am transitioning from being a child to being an adult, not just developmentally but also in my day to day living. I graduated in May and now I have to face the real world, i.e bills, stdent loans, responsibilities, etc. Frankly, I don’t like it, but such is life… What are you going to do?!? Anyway, I am not going the traditional route of coming out of college and getting a job, or coming out of undergrad and going straight to grad school. I am convicted that God has called me to something else, at least for now. And I am pursuing that! But… There is always a but, isn’t there?

I have faced some opposition and I am still facing them! It is very discouraging when you are excited about what God has called you to do and the ones you expect to support you are the ones against your decisions, they are the ones second-guessing what you’re doing, they  are the ones asking if there isn’t another way to serve God– to be honest, I was sad; but God had to open my heart and eyes and let me see that they are coming from a place of love and concern. When I was asked these questions, I was hurt, very hurt to be honest. I was so hurt that I started to think that perhaps I heard the wrong thing from God! I started questioning God, asking Him if He really wanted me to do what He purposefully called me to do– don’t get it wrong, friends, God is never confused– but I was pretty sure that God didn’t know what He was doing… How naive and human of me, right?

After some time I was reminded that I am on this earth to do the will of my Father in Heaven. With apprehension I decided to follow in God’s footsteps, allowing Him to lead me and guide me. The journey hasn’t been all that pleasant, but it has been peaceful. I hope that makes sense. Today I was reminded and encouraged that God is my foundation. My foundation is not on man or woman or family or friends; it is not on the nods and approval of the people around me, neither is it on their disapproval. But my foundation is on God, the one who formed me in my mother’s womb, who called me, molded me, who is pruning me. If He approves of me, that’s great; if He disapproves of what I am doing, I can go back to Him where I can at find grace and mercy, something man doesn’t necessarily give. I was reminded that at the end of the day, I answer to Him, the author and finisher of my faith.

So, what am I going to do from here on out? I will continue to trust God. I know that challenges will come; perhaps even the old tunes of disapproval will play again. But Jesus is my rock, He is my foundation, I put my trust and hope in Him. I trust that He will help me and guide me in the new direction He is taking me. Perhaps I’ll even get discouraged along the way, but I will put my trust in my Father knowing that, “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ ” (2nd Timothy 2:19, NIV). And if God’s very own foundation is firm, then I am pretty secure trusting in Him!

I am excited for this journey, though! God is going to move and it is a great privilege to be on The Rock’s team, my rock that will never fail!