The first letter dad wrote to me was October 1, 1998 at least the one I was able to locate this holiday season. My dad always wrote letters to encourage us towards our dreams and goals particularly when he had to travel to Sierra Leone for work and family business in the late 90s when we had just moved to the US. I always looked forward to opening those blue Par Avion envelopes and he always started the salutation of those letters with my dear daughter. He always wanted the best for us and always communicated that in his letters. They motivated most of my academic, career and life successes up until now. I think a lot about my father during the holiday season. It has been almost 16 years since his passing and grief still shows up at times. Losing him was the greatest loss I experienced. There is something so intangible and strange about grief, its hard to explain to others how one generally feels and it doesn't have an end season.Some of you reading this some of this may resonate with. Whether it's a loss of someone who has passed away, or an estranged relationship, grief can be very difficult to maneuver. It can show up in different waves and over the years I have had days where I generally push through by pretending it doesn't exist, or occupy my time with things to distract me. These are all coping mechanisms and there is nothing necessarily wrong with them. Some years I have scheduled therapy/counseling appointments around the holiday seasons just to ensure I have additional space to process what was happening.
Lately, I find myself even deeply appreciative of the time that God gave me to spend with my Father. In this season of Christmas, I wanted to just be still and have some alone time journaling, and in close community whilst I reflected on my grief. I am reminded of Jesus speaking with Martha and re-shifting her focus because she was distracted by so many things and He needed her to do one thing which was to sit at his feet(Luke 10:38-42). You see it's not that what Martha was doing was the wrong thing, it just wasn't what Jesus needed of her in that moment. I wonder what it would be like if in our deepest moments of grief during the holidays we choose to grieve at His feet, talk to Him about the pain we are feeling and allow Jesus to minister to us. That we don't have to have it all figured out or even have an agenda of how we plan to grieve that day like Martha having all these tasks, but just allowing ourselves to be still and spend some quiet time talking with Jesus.
After all it was the same Jesus who even when it was not His set time turned water into wine at the wedding of Cana John 2:1-12. So even in these moments, where perhaps the entire world around us may have perceivably so much joy and our worlds may not look like what the noise or joy looks like whether or social media or physically around us, or the several distractions that the holiday season sometimes bring; perhaps tuning out the noise and sitting at Jesus' feet is all we need to do. Perhaps tuning out the noise and asking Jesus to step into our situations just as He did at the wedding at Cana is the new perspective we need in our seasons of grief.
So this holiday I decided to think about my grief through a lens of gratitude. How did I get this perspective? By spending alone time at the foot of Jesus and talking to him about how I felt. I find myself even when I have my moments of sadness asking the Lord Jesus what to do and how should I respond to how I am feeling. So this year even through the moments and bouts of deep grief, I have found comfort in gratitude in the things my father taught me to do, the ways he was such a cheer leader to me, and all the insights I learnt from him in business, and some of the unlearning as well. So reading his letters now I hear him saying these words to me and I am thankful I still have these words written somewhere to remind me of who he was and how he saw me as his dear daughter.
I may not know what type of grief of loss some of you may have suffered this year or in previous years, yet I pray you receive comfort and peace during such a time, and give yourself permission to focus on the one needful thing, sitting still and at the feet of Jesus. May you find the peace, comfort in this season and may the Lord give you a new and better perspective on your grief, just as He gave new and better wine at the wedding at Cana. God bless you and I wish you a blessed Christmas season. May we fix our eyes on Jesus in all things. I love you deeply and God bless you for reading.
This season of advent, I am pondering on the importance of presence. A few days ago I had a really good call with a friend and colleague who explained to me how her year went. It was one of those check ins I was so thankful I honored in the midst of my hectic year end schedule. It wasn't a meeting where I was asked to produce anything, or where I was pouring into someone(these are all really important meetings I regard highly), it was a meeting where we were both reflecting on our 2022. I think these types of meetings as we close the year are really important more than work and productivity meetings because they rejuvenate us in ways unimaginable.
In that exchange of a conversation i shared some things God was laying on my heart with my my friend, I could tell it blessed her. During the conversation, she also shared some of the things she has learnt this year. I then had a light bulb moment. It seemed my colleague had already stepped into her new season and she had done some reflecting something I hadn’t done yet. The meeting helped me realize that I hadn't really started reflecting on my year and I wanted to. I thanked her after our call for honoring me with her presence.
Since then I’ve been thinking about how the most important thing you can gift someone in this advent season is the gift of presence. A few weeks ago in my quiet time with God, I was speaking to Him about relationships and the journey of healing. I sensed the Lord speaking to me about presence once again. The Holy Spirit stirred in my spirit that the most important thing you can give me in this season is your presence. Whoa where did that come from? I thought we were just talking about relationships Ha! God always has a surprise for you when you honor Him with presence!
I reflected on the word I heard that morning, and thought "Well isn’t the most important relationship one with God?". I think about how the angel Gabriel visited Mary and revealed that she would be the chosen one to carry our savior Jesus. Angel Gabriel isn't just any type of angel, He is a high ranking angel that is sent out for such powerful messages and as we know this was the most important message mankind had been waiting for the arrival of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ!
I wondered what it must have felt for Mary but the fact that she honored the presence of the angelic visitation I could imagine even in the midst of how this conception was to happen, that she received some peace especially reading from her response"“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her." Luke 1:38. Mary understood in that moment the gift of presence. Later on she goes to spend some months with Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56) and Elizabeth honored Mary with presence in a time where she needed her the most. I think about these months of winter that can be so cold and dark, and sometimes many may feel lonely during the holiday season, and the importance of honoring presence. The uttermost presence we must honor is the presence of God and the next being honoring the presence of His people. In this season I wanted to offer some tips on how I am being intentional about honoring God's presence and those around me.
Here are some ways I ensure I gift the gift of presence
A season of revelation, reflection and rest. A season of TRANSFORMATION.
Believe me for more: Ephesians 3:20-21 don’t limit what I can do for you in this season. The more you expect of me the more you will see in this season. It’s like Christmas all around us! Gifts, Gifts and more Gifts are being released! Don’t count yourself out!
I am doing a new thing. Isaiah 43:19 Don’t be tied to the things of old. Forget the past and allow me to show you the new. Don’t bring old baggage into this new session. This is a season of great manifestation of my move.
I will show you great and mighty things in this season. Jeremiah 33:3. This is a season of great manifestation. Understand with a new season you have to discern your new terrain you can’t do things like the old so with new wine comes new wine skin. Don’t allow old habits, attitudes beliefs to contaminate the new thing I am doing in your life. Isaiah 43:19
New wine into old wine skins won’t last
learn to rely on me for your capacity in this season. You are my precious ones, you are my chosen ones. Hold each other with great care and always look to me. I see and have heard all of your prayers and there will be manifestation. Continue to remain on the narrow path, your fulfillment of my purpose for your life depends on it.
You will bear fruits in your life when you abide in me, continue to press in in this season. I am doing 11th hour miracles in this season, perceive the impossible because I am able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ever ask or think. Believe me for more miracles, more intimacy, more manifestation of my promises over your life. I will never leave you draw near to me and I will continue to draw bear to me. Seek me with your entire heart and you will find me. Do not allow your spirit to become contaminated. You are my beloved. Not qualified vessels buy vessels that are yielded to HIM!
This is your Shiloh no one goes to SHILOH and returns the same. I have equipped you for the new season ahead. You will face many adversities because of this ascend but you shall overcome. You are my beloved.
A few seasons ago I was at a point where I had exhausted myself both spiritually and physically. I felt I couldn't do anything, create, think and sometimes even pray. I heard the voice of the Lord and His word in Matthew 11:28-29 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." . I spent some time meditating on scriptures and I kept hearing the Father telling me to enter into His rest(Hebrews 4:10). I was trying to figure some things out on my own, in my organization, in my career, in my family life and all the Lord wanted of me was to come to Him surrender and allow Him to exchange my burdens for His presence, peace, and rest. I decided to go on a one month sabbatical where all I did was go back into spending time with God. Some days I would go on prayer walks, other days I would rest, and other days I would listen to worship. I spent so much time talking to God during my morning prayer walks and didn't do much activities as it related to ministry. I also halted all work related activities and spent more time eating healthy, taking naps etc.
Of course I understand not everyone has the luxury of doing this but God allowed for me to do so in that season. I remember one day I was spending quiet time with God and He said to me don't ever think that because of the things you do is what makes me bless you. Sometimes in ministry we think the more we do for God the more He blesses us but God was teaching me that in fact even in seasons where everything seems still and quiet that is when restoration of our souls happen(Psalms 23:2-3) and that even in the seasons of rest He still takes care of everything we need in that season. I committed to my sabbatical rest and I realized that the sabbath in itself is something that is so important to God. We must find intentional time to rest, because it is when one rests you hear directions for your next season clearly, it is when we rest we can cultivate deeper presence with God. I came out of the season of a sabbatical but I carry the daily spiritual practice of resting in God's word, promises and presence since then. It was life changing for me. I no longer connected my value and worth as a christian to activity but rather I attached my value to how God sees me and His love for me. It changed everything for me as far as how I showed up in my roles be it my role as a wife, a leader, a minister, a mentee etc. I thank God for the ability to enter into His rest and to receive new revelation, direction and strength to step into new seasons. Here are 3 ways you can begin your journey of resting in God:
1. Pick a time during the day/week where it is just for some aspect of rest(studying the word, listening to worship music, spending quiet solitude time with God)
2. Pick a month that you set aside during the year that is a sabbatical month just you and the Lord
3. Build an accountability community that holds you accountable to take period rests both spiritual and physical resting periods
I hope you are blessed as you read this post and may you receive the rest of God in this season in Jesus name Amen.
Welcome to my lifestyle segment of my brand. Here I will share my writings, heartwork, wisdom and life happenings as it relates to my work.