What If I Obeyed?

What would my life look like if I obeyed God in all things, immediately without hesitation? Would my husband have a different level of joy if I did not first bump heads with him and then repent but rather find the shortest path to peace and mutual understanding no matter our discussion? Would my parenting changed if I did not react to my children first out of my own fear of failing as a mother or out of anger and irritation at the unending list of things to do for my little ones? What if I parented my children always in light of eternity and my duty to steward their lives in such a way that it makes it easier for them to see and thus follow God’s direction for their lives? Would anything be different.

What if I obeyed the prompting to forgive and harbor no malice towards anyone without struggling with God about it? What if I forgave with the same ease with which God forgives me? Would my list of people who I have to “love from a distance” disappear to be replaced by a list of people I joyfully embrace in prayer and in every other way commanded by God?

There is such a longing in me to live a radical life for Christ and the sake of the Gospel but a part of me fears that the life I desire will not be made manifest until my obedience to God reaches a radical place as well. Until I am known privately, publicly and in heaven for quick and deliberate obedience to everything that the Lord commands, it seems to me that the best mly little life will ever account for is that of a “regular Christian.” I do not want a participation ribbon Christianity. I want a walk with Christ that makes my Heavenly Father beam in joy. My joy is full when I know I have made heaven proud.

Every disobedience to the Lord’s command has resulted in heartbreak, either as the consequences of my own sin or the heaviest of conviction as the Lord chastised me as His daughter. If I had obeyed the Lord back in 1993 and yielded totally to His prompting, I may have saved myself an encounter that almost took my life. If I obeyed in 2000, as the age of 17, I would have kept myself from creating ungodly ties that would rival for the Lord’s attention in my life. If I had obeyed in 2002, I would have saved myself another attempt on my life. If I had obeyed in 2005, I would have surrendered to a life of leading students to Christ instead of living in lukewarm Christianity. If I had obeyed in 2006, I would have never have gotten on the slippery slope that led me to a life completely devoid of God’s leadership and wholly consumed by flesh. If I had obeyed in 2007, I would never have created the ties that had to be broken before my marriage to my husband. I would not be the point of contention in someone else’s happily ever after. If I had obeyed back in 1993, I would have saved myself 16 YEARS of disobeying God’s will for my love life.

Now that I am finally and fully in Christ, what would this life look like if I obeyed the Lord promptly and immediately, without first having to fight with myself about what the Lord is instructing me to do? Who would I have led to Christ by now if I was living the life of radical obedience to which the Lord has called me? Whose marriage would I have impacted for good if I am known FIRST as a wife who obeys God and second, as one who honors her husband? Which of the young people around me would have been encouraged to a life of surrender to Christ, if I had lived a transparent and sold out life to Christ as a teenager?

What would happen from today henceforth if I obey God quickly and wholly, the first time?

What if I obeyed?

Please pray for me…because I intend to find out.

 

Yours in Christ,

Omowunmi

What My Vows Mean Today

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”


Ruth 1:16

I like my husband. I think he’s kind, interesting, good-looking, compassionate and generous among a million other things. Usually these are the thoughts that are at the front of my mind when I get to spend any measure of time with him. I am grateful for my marriage. The joy and growth in Christ I have experienced as a Mrs is palpable. However, there are other days when finding that joy is a struggle. There are days when I have been up till 4am with an infant and my alarm goes off at 7am to get to the work of attending to our toddler and our baby before rushing off to the office. My husband may have slept peacefully through the night, never letting the hungry cries of our newest bundle disturb his sleep. There are days when I am thinking ahead for our budget for the next month and trying to see ways to tighten our respective belts and the love of my life walks into the house with an expensive (necessary?) new purchase that could have waited another month (or lifetime).

During these times when I’m struggling to like, understand, and submit to my husband, something other than my husband’s charm is holding us together. Something besides his behavior is driving me to demonstrate love to him in a way that would make my Heavenly Father proud. The vows I said on our wedding day mean something different today than they did on day one. On our wedding day, those words had me envisioning a life time of couples trips and family vacations (“where you go, I will go”). I also figured we may have to endure some uprooting and replanting of our lives elsewhere (“where you stay, I will stay”). I joyfully anticipated serving God publicly and hand in hand with my husband (“your God will be my God”).  I was preparing myself for the times of warfare when I would have to pray and fast for whatever battle the enemy would try to wage against my husband specifically or our family as a whole. That was what those vows meant when I said them.

Today, my vows mean significantly more. Today my vows mean that even when I’m at my wits end about some of my husbands most infuriating habits, I choose love over nitpicking because love keeps no record of wrongs. It means when I am exhausted with the work of motherhood and he does not swoop in to help, I remind myself that he is not a mind reader and I need to ask for help (“love thinks no evil”). It means that if I begin to see hopelessness rearing its head regarding some issues we have had since our first day of marriage (be they financial, emotional or spiritual) I cling ever the more to the hope we have in Christ (“love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”). When the enemy plants the thought that “I cannot take this anymore” regarding any aspect of my marriage, the part of my love for my spouse that is suppose to endure all things MUST kick into high gear. It means that when every part of my flesh wants to cop a totally justified attitude in response to my husband’s offense against me, I yield to the Holy Spirit to win over my flesh because love does not behave rudely. My vows do not JUST mean that I do not cheat on my husband and that I seek his good before I seek my own desires, it ALSO means that I quash the temptation to disrespect him in a thousand little ways that seem meaningless but do much to chip away at our oneness. My vows mean that I choose to believe the best about my husband even when my flesh will have me conclude that he offended me on purpose. My vows mean fighting the temptation to retreat within myself but rather choosing to be emotionally naked before the man I love, ESPECIALLY during the times that my mind tries to convince me that vulnerability unequivocally leads to heartbreak. This is the standard. Because I fail does not mean that the standard changes. If I find that I have fallen flat on my face regarding anything I vowed to do within my marriage, I have to be  quick to repent before God as well as my husband and once again seek the road that the word of God calls the more excellent way. I am forever grateful that there is grace and mercy available for me at every point in this journey of marriage.

There are times when my vows move me to joyful obedience in my marriage and there are other times when my obedience is a sacrifice that must be made tearfully. Disobedience is not an option because for me, there is NO WAY I can be successfully married without the help and continued work of the Holy Spirit. Check my resume, I am a mess without the grace of God working in and through me. If I harden my heart against any change that the Lord wants to make in my character, I suffer, my husband suffers and my children suffer. Disobedience to God is entirely too costly and I cannot afford the asking price.

Even though our journey has just begun, my vows mean more today after our small time of testing and “on the job training” than they ever did before. My prayer is that the God of grace grants us His abundant grace to honor the vows that we have made to Him and to those we love.

Yours in Christ,

Omowunmi

Cultivating A Sweet Spirit

“Never trust your tongue when your heart is bitter”

I came across this quote some months ago and it has stuck with me. Mostly because before I even heard it, I have been of those women who has to be careful with with my words whenever I am angry. I am a lover of words – long-winded, an attorney by trade and a writer by passion. In heated or emotional exchanges with people I care about, I rather stay silent than utter a foolish word that will do more harm to our ability to love one another down the road. I do best when I have had time to process my feelings, perhaps write them out before expressing them outloud to another person. My temperament is the same in marriage. My husband means the world to me. His pursuit of me modeled Christ to me in a very unique way. My goal is never to damage his heart or his spirit with careless words. I want to remain his biggest cheerleader and closest confidant. I cannot do that if I am spewing venom from my lips whenever we disagree or he fails to measure up to the unreasonable image of perfection inside my head.

Recently, my husband made a casual remark during one of our exchanges that hurt my feelings, deeply. It literally stopped me in my tracks. I had to get out of the house to keep from retaliating in flesh. As I was going about my day, taking our son to his doctor’s appointment and running other errands, the remark would replay in my head and I would cry silent tears of frustration. In my distress I reached out to two people, my younger sister who was also married in Christ and full of wisdom and my mentor who has been counseling me for the past seven years since I came to the Lord.

Both women listened to me, encouraged me, calmed my worries and prayed with me. They both pushed me gently but firmly towards keeping the peace in my home and having a Christ-focused response. My mentor, however, said something that has stuck with me since our conversation. “You are a very sweet wife; I know you love your husband. Do not let the enemy steal your sweetness!”

The advice was simple but profound. It affected me in surprising ways. Immediately I reflected on our first few weeks and first year of marriage – the pleasure I use to take in doing daily simple tasks for my love such as ironing his work clothes or preparing a special lunch for him while he rested before work. I did these things joyfully because my heart was bent on serving my husband and appreciating him for the million ways he loves and cares for me daily. Somehow as life has gotten busier and we became parents, some of those beloved traditions went the way of cherished but forgotten memories. Even if I did not have the same amount of free time as I did as a brand new wife, was my heart towards my husband still tender? Was I the same woman in spirit and demeanor who found any and all reasons to appreciate his efforts in our home? Were my words towards him seasoned with grace as they had been in that first blissful year of marriage? Upon close examination I realized that my conversations with my husband lately were centered on asking him to do things for me or complaining about all I am tasked (graced?) to do in our marriage. I could not remember the last time I appreciated my husband’s efforts or spoke words of encouragement to him after he worked 12 hours overnight on four hours of sleep.

Thanks to my mentor’s gracious reminder I am determined to stay “sweet” in all the ways that matter to my husband. I have encountered so many wives who have been disillusioned by years of disappointing behavior by their husbands. Hurtful words and deep betrayals big and small have stolen the joy from their homes and naturally resulted in bitterness. I do not want to be an embittered wife. I have a vision clearly planted in front of me of the type of wife and helpmeet  I wanted to be to my love when we exchanged our vows. Anything that turns that vision on its head, I have to actively fight against.

No matter how valid my complaints or how genuine my weariness, there is grace available to be a loving and respectful wife to my husband. I will fight for my sweetness by uprooting bitterness out of my heart daily. I will fight for my sweetness by choosing to love unconditionally even when I do not feel loved in the moment. I will fight for my sweetness by building my household up in prayer and finding joy once again in the simple tasks I am graced and privileged to do daily. Lastly I will fight for my sweetness by agreeing with my husband over the vision that God has given him for our family and being his biggest supporter rather than a constant adversary.

Keep me in prayer as I fight this good fight of faith.

Yours in Christ,

Omowunmi

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Barrenness, Motherhood, Blessings and Burdens

When we found out we were pregnant with our first child, both my husband and I were elated. Although we were newlyweds, we were ready to build our family. There was no plan to “wait a few years and just enjoy each other.” We enjoyed each other plenty and our love deepened as we face the challenges of early pregnancy hand in hand. Truth be told, there was a part of me that feared that I would struggle with infertility. When I say fear, I mean I was deathly afraid of barrenness, miscarriage or anything close to infertility. In my community, the pressure to start a family early is palpable. Those who struggle to conceive are the subject of so much public pity and prayers, it is almost as if not being parents is a curse to any marriage. Every where in my social circle, marriage without children is treated as a reproach. And it is usually the wife that bears the burden of this public view. From where I was sitting as a fiancée, there were enough people judging my future marriage and wondering how a nice guy like my husband-to-be ended up with a girl like me. More than anything, I wanted to be a crown for my husband and not a reproach. In my heart, I was afraid that people would be quick to say “I told you so” if we had any issues with conceiving after our wedding. I knew they would blame me and I did not want to cry those tears of heartbreak. I did not know if I had the grace to endure the public shame and reproach that would have been my portion if children were not a part of God’s will for our marriage. I doubted that I had the resiliency of character and faith that it would take to be wholly content in God’s plan for us, even as married friends and loved ones celebrated the birth and growth of their own children while my own womb and hands remained empty. It was not a cross I wanted to bear and I would have done almost anything to avoid it.

Knowing that it is God who opens and closes the womb as He sees fit, I was humbled by the gift of our son. I knew I did nothing to deserve the gift of motherhood and that it would take grace to do this role in excellence. As someone who struggled with doing things for the sake of public opinion, it was important for me not to exploit the news of our bundle of joy for “likes” and congratulatory messages on social media. In examining my own heart, I concluded that there was a tiny part of me that wanted to be vindicated in the eyes of others who may have doubted our marriage. Because of that sinful mentality, for me it was best to keep our news off the internet and simply share our joys with loved ones who knew us away from social media. I know many people who share their joys with the world as soon as the blue lines appear. Many want to honor the little life that is growing and testify to God’s goodness. This is absolutely honorable and godly. I did not take this route because my own motives would not have been pure in doing so. I shared photos of our family after our little prince was born because my heart was clear to share our joy at that point.

There was a time during pregnancy when I was sick beyond all comprehension and fearful of being hospitalized due to dehydration. During that time, I started counting the cost of motherhood. Around the clock nausea meant that I did not have the energy to lift my head, much less cook, clean or even go to work. I could not be my fun and attentive self to my husband. I was missing church and excusing myself from all social activities because all my energy was focused on surviving an experience I had always anticipated but now felt like I was in over my head. In those moments of complete helplessness, I understood why some women would desire to delay motherhood.

Despite the relief of giving birth rather than grappling with the reality of infertility, motherhood was not a breeze. I have a husband who has partnered with me at every stage of the way but I still struggled with postpartum blues, feeling overwhelmed whenever I would spend nights alone with our newborn. I realized that although motherhood is a blessing, it is not a breeze. Every day was a constant reminder that if anything goes wrong with our son, I would be the parent to blame. God’s grace was the only thing that saw us through that first year. From relying on loved ones for child care, to taking our baby to the office and even to court with me on some days, life as a working mom of a newborn was challenging at best. I recognized immediately how God was using my role as a mom to challenge my flesh and my predisposition towards selfishness. I literally had to put another human being first because his survival depended on it. In motherhood I learned patience and was reminded once again of my inexhaustible need for God’s grace. I have learned to be ingenious and industrial with our income, squeezing a dollar out of every penny. I have learned to persevere when all I want to do is fall apart. I have also learned to be open and honest with those who can best help me and pray for me when I am completely overwhelmed. There is no room to pretend perfection here. The lineage of my household is depending on me to do this work well.

As someone who got pregnant within the first two months of marriage, I am able to see now how delaying motherhood would have afforded me a different avenue for glorifying God within my marriage. Before we were grappling with my round the clock nausea and extreme weight loss from pregnancy, I had time to oversee the running of our household to my heart’s content. My house was spotless; our kitchen had a new meal cooking for lunch and dinner every day, and my wardrobe and makeup were “selfie ready” at any given moment. It was fun being my husband’s glowing and doting wife, with no cares beyond the two of us and what Christ would have us do in our marriage. That child-free period gave us ample opportunity to be fully focused on one another and in-tune with each other’s needs. Our communication was top notch. Had we continued in our childless stage without the welcomed interruption of 9 months of pregnancy, I am sure my husband and I would have had many more adventures to add to our list. Even as a pregnant newlywed, I had ample opportunity to spoil my husband rotten and savor our time as a family of two. Thankfully, parenthood has deepened rather than depleted our marriage. We cherish our time alone because we know it is hard to come by. Difficult issues are faced head on because there is more at stake than just our own happiness.

Recognizing that God can be glorified with or without the presence of children in a marriage now leads me to repent of my earlier fear of barrenness. I have never experienced the pain of infertility or the loss of miscarriage so I dare not pretend to know how deeply that anguish can go. One thing I am sure of, now more than ever, is God’s goodness, regardless of what the circumstance may be. There is a blessing in whatever God allows, if we look diligently for it. Even when what God allows does not fit our own definition of “good,” there is grace to endure the trials we face until His perspective becomes ours. Even if I never have another child (as much as I desire one more) or if I have many more than I originally intended, I have to remind myself that none of it takes God by surprise. He has prepared the way I would travel before I ever knew anything about the journey.

I believe my desire to be a mother was God-given. My fear of barrenness was not. I desire to raise a family to God’s glory and I want my children and family to always point others to Christ. As an engaged couple and later as newlyweds, my husband and I had peace about starting our family right away. The most important part of my journey as a wife and mother has been holding my plans loosely enough to allow God to interrupt them as He sees fit.

An Honorable Wife, Who Can Find Her?

Today has been one for the books. I did not have to go into the office but between rolling out of bed exhausted because of a co-sleeping toddler and running errands from sun up to sun down, I am just about out of gas on my “day off.” This post has been on my mind for a while but I did not yet have the words. I am prayerful that the words are now adequate to communicate what I have been feeling. Ever since I became a mother, my primary focus has been on building my household – continuing in my journey to be the best wife possible to my husband and also grow into the mother God has called me to be for my children. As a self-employed attorney, I have had the freedom to make my own hours for the most part. When work slows down at the office or clients are few and far between, I take the opportunity to spend quality time with my son and my husband and oversee the running of our home in way that I may not be able to do when work is busier. My heart was content. When my bank account starts reflecting the large amount of time I am spending away from work, I do my best to take my concerns to my Heavenly Father. His provision has always been sufficient for us in times past and I trust His faithfulness. My husband has been an amazing provider and continues in his role. I rest a little easier at night knowing that God has entrusted me to such a capable provider. Every day, week, month and year of our marriage, I learn to trust God in my husband a little more than the season before. There was a time when I would cry in private that our finances were not what I would like – even if basic needs were met, there was no cushion and no extras to enjoy. I was burdened because it seemed that all other couples had more than enough and we had to be satisfied with the bare necessities. God reprimanded me for that mindset because one, it was ungrateful and totally dismissive of all the ways the Lord had lavishly blessed our family. Two, it was born out of a envious and sinful outlook. I was comparing my portion with others and wishing for what they had without taking into account how they may have achieved their results or if their portion in life was even a part of God’s will for my life, home and marriage. Once the Lord chin-checked me on these points, I became more diligent about casting down those kinds of thoughts – those thoughts ultimately were exalting themselves against my knowledge of Christ as a Savior who has given me all that pertains to life and godliness. So, by God’s grace I was at a place of contentment. Our needs were met, my family was safe and healthy and cared for and I had no valid reason to complain.

While I was relishing my time of being content in whatever position God would have us, I was missing a very critical point. I was not checking in with my husband. My hubby is naturally not as vocal as I am about his concerns. Through marriage, I have learned to take my concerns to God before voicing them out loud. Doing this ensures that when I do speak to my husband, my words are seasoned with grace. Although I was being careful in what I say and how I say it to my husband, I was also completely neglecting my husband’s need to be heard. Usually when he is unusually withdrawn, I take notice and coax him into sharing his heart with me. I can’t even remember the last time I did that. My focus had been so centered on our home and our son, I was forgetting my number one human priority. It was not intentional, but the damage was the same.

When my husband was finally able to share his heart with me, I realized that I had allowed resentment to creep into his heart by not being cognizant of his needs. In my own mind, I was focused on building our home and letting work be a secondary priority to the care and upbringing of our children. My husband, however, did not see it this way. From his perspective, I was leaving all the heavy lifting of our financial well being in his hands even though circumstances should have told me that he needed my help and support. He was working full-time, going to school and still struggling to ensure that all our needs were met. His only option to stay afloat as sole provider would be to drop his classes and work full time and part time simultaneously. He was resentful of the lack of help he perceived from my end and I was completely oblivious until he made it known.

The conversation with my husband was a shocking wake-up call to the real state of affairs as it related to my husband’s emotions. I had no clue. I felt like such a failure for not realizing that of course my husband needed my support in a tangible way. I felt like a fraud who had foolishly believed that our home was happy and free of any present conflict. A part of me also felt useless. Maybe my contributions to my family mattered very little when they did not translate to dollar amounts. The enemy took me back to summer of 2012. I had just experienced a 30% pay cut thanks to the state’s diminishing budget and we were planning a wedding. My (then) fiancé was making a bulk of the money that we would be spending for our wedding and our life together. While struggling financially, I was devastated to have some of the leaders at my church advise me not to be a “liability” to my husband. They meant that I should enter my marriage financially secured and able to do for myself. That has always been my plan and my dream but my present circumstances were not lining up with that notion. It felt like my dreams were on hold until I got a better paying job. It seemed to me that I would have to postpone beginning my life with the man I loved because, financially, I wasn’t yet worthy of marriage. The thought itself broke my heart and the word “liability” stuck to me like a bad stench. I could no longer picture my future with joy in my heart. All I could see was my husband not valuing me because I didn’t bring enough to the table, money wise. I fell into a deep depression that did not give way until I was able to receive some words of counsel, advise and prayer from my mentor, one of my aunties in Christ, a working mother of quadruplets who took me under her wings after I came to Christ.

The conversation with my husband felt immediately like a big “I told you so” from the enemy and everyone who had advised me to not be a “liability” to the man I loved. Maybe they had been right along. It was a battle between my emotions and the truth of God for the next two days. I would not let the enemy win but my emotions were so raw and fragile it felt like I was only moments away from giving into despair with each hour. Along with these feelings came the fear of rejection that always loomed in the background whenever I have to put myself out there. The six months of abject poverty and utter hopelessness while job searching upon graduation came to mind immediately. I did not know if I could weather another letter of rejection. Add to it, the demands of wife life and motherhood and I was thoroughly overwhelmed by my thoughts alone. I had not even done anything yet and it already seemed impossible.

One of the thoughts that came to me during these tumultuous two days was “you cannot have it all.” As a wife and new mother, it seemed I would have to sacrifice either my home life or my upward mobility in my career. There seemed to be no way to thrive at both. I was not one of those women who flew effortlessly through making a beautiful home, raising godly and well-adjusted children, maintaining a thriving marriage while climbing the ranks among her colleagues. Everything I have been able to do at home or at work has been by God’s grace alone and through tremendous effort. I was doing good to get the dishes washed each day and possibly get a shower before the afternoon on my days home alone with our son. I had to cut myself a tremendous amount of slack otherwise I would have been convinced that I was failure as a home-maker and first time mom.

How was I going to maintain the quality of life of our household (spiritual well-being and upbringing of the children) while working 40 to 60 hours a week to contribute to our financial upkeep? The Lord Himself knew I was already struggling with the little bit that was on my plate and here I am about to add more.

I was overwhelmed and panicked with the thought of what entering the workforce under someone else’s terms would entail. Thanks be to God for His unwavering faithfulness. The Lord broke through all my panic and emotions and reminded me that His grace has been sufficient for me thus far and He would continue to be my help for the journey ahead.

This post was to share my heart with fellow wives and moms, wives to be and women desiring marriage. Marriage isn’t always what Instagram will have you believe. It is not always pretty or fun. Your husband will not always be your knight in shining armor and you yourself will not always be the honorable wife that scripture describes. But there is grace available for marriage done God’s way. When you have made this covenant before God and according to His leading, He is vested in your success because His glory is at stake. He will sustain you and you can have joy in marriage even when everything isn’t perfect. Please keep me in your prayer as I enter this new season in my life as a working wife and mother. Pray for the grace to do all things in excellence. Thank you so much. God bless you

Yours in Christ,
Omowunmi

A Servant’s Heart

When I first came to Christ, I was just so excited about finally being where God wanted me; I was desperate to make up for lost time. I wanted to win souls, be an example to other believers and encourage others all in one day. That passion and zeal for the things of God fueled many wonderful ideas and occurrences in my regenerated life and I look back on my first couple of years in Christ with much amazement at what God did and a totally grateful heart. During that time around 2011, I became more active on social media and started seeing more examples of women in Christ encouraging other women and spreading the gospel. There seemed to be a formula for it. As a newbie in my faith walk, I assumed that what I was observing was the proper (and only) way to minister to others as a woman. So I bought into the formula and started attempting to create a following of what I believe to be like minded women to whom God has called me to minister. The results were perplexing. I wasn’t satisfied and I felt like I was “using” God to make a name for myself and then justifying it by redirecting attention back to Him. The results were also unsuccessful. I was a nobody. The were no reasons for any crowds to be drawn to me or my message, no matter how Gospel centered I deemed it to be. The moments that brought me the most satisfaction and peace with God were one on one conversations with other women who were going through experiences that Christ had already healed and redeemed in my own life. I realized the error of my ways in trying to make a name for myself. I didn’t have to be famous or wealthy or beautiful to be a “minister”. I just had to love people and serve them as Christ commands – without hypocrisy and out of a pure heart, rendering my service as unto the Lord. Thanks to the wisdom of God, I find myself more self-aware of my motives as I serve in the vineyard to which God has called me. Whenever I find myself dissatisfied with results or wondering why more people aren’t hearing what I have to say, I am quickly able to ask myself whether the endeavors I am undertaking are for my glory or the glory of the Risen Savior. Truthfully, when I am lifting up Christ rather than myself, one soul is enough. It is when I am seeking my own fame that the numbers matter most to me. I found more joy in sharing my heart with 5 teenage girls in my church on a weekly basis for two years than in trying to convince 700 social media friends to buy into my God-given “vision”.

I cannot pinpoint what motivated this post but I have been struggling to document where I am in my walk of faith for a while. I pray this short writing resonates with someone somewhere.

Yours In Christ,

Omowunmi


If I Were Wiser

I am starting to think that if I were wiser I would have kept my guard up nine years ago. I would have banished my naivete and kept my distance. I would not have reached out to others based on my feeling that we can be friends despite our past conflict of interest. I would probably have stifled my friendliness just a bit and invited courtesy rather than intimacy in sisterhood. I would have kept acquaintances where they were instead of turning mutual friends into close friends and confidants. I would never have allowed myself the freedom to let my walls down and be my true, vulnerable, open, transparent, aching, previously broken but almost completely healed self. I would have smiled and played along. When they pretended perfection, I would have let them – never using my own vulnerability as an invitation for them to put their walls down. If I had treated acquaintances as such and looked on everyone with carefully guarded distrust rather than opening my heart, I would have been better off. Because in my foolishness, I trusted too easily and gave away too much of my friendship. I literally invested emotion in would-be friends the way that others might in their siblings. I made strangers into my sisters and foolishly hoped that we would always be there for each other. I was stupid. If I had kept my guard up rather than running headlong into friendship with those who never demonstrated that they had my best interest at heart, I could have saved myself the trouble. If I had simply smiled and said hello and never divulged the details of my heart, my fears and my emotions, I could have saved myself from having to hear the words “people warned me about you…”. If I had simply been quiet when others offered me a shallow association, rather than opening my heart in hopes of deeper friendship, I could have saved myself from arming those who actually meant to harm me in my reputation, my emotions and my marriage. Feeling helpless and angry when people I once held dear to my heart try to destroy the blessing that God Himself bestowed upon me. If I had listened when outsiders resisted my friendship rather than insisting on building relationship because we ran in the same circles, I could have skipped the whole drama of being labeled something that God never called me. I am starting to think I was infinitely foolish in choosing vulnerability and friendship over distance acquaintanceship. Maybe if I were wiser I would have been better off.

[Taking stock of the relationships in my life and how they came about, ended and their lasting effect. This was an opportunity to give voice to some of my musings. Not everything written here is meant to be taken literally. I disabled comments for this post because although I am not opposed to sharing these thoughts, I do not necessarily want feedback on them, positive or negative. God bless you and thank you for reading].

 

After All…Stand

After you have seen the errors of your ways.After you have cried out to God for forgiveness. After you have repented and turned away from the path of wickedness. After you have sought reconciliation with your brethren. After you have apologized and humbled yourself. After you have accepted the consequences of your wrongdoing. After you have cried tears of regret for what was lost. After you have searched and searched your heart for more you can do to make amends. After you have taken the hurtful truths that others have spoken. After you have quieted yourself in the midst of lies. After you have comforted yourself in the Lord’s presence. After you have opened the wounded places for others so they can help. After you have received their counsel and comfort. After you have revisited the same hurting places a thousand times again. After you have cried out to God for healing once and for all. After you have submitted your emotions to God, refusing to be mastered by your feelings. After you have given Christ the place as Lord over your feelings. After you have bowed yourself in obedience at His throne, awaiting His instructions and ready to do all He commands, no matter how painful. After you have prayed to grow in love. After you have prayed for them even when they continue to curse you. After you have rejoiced when others are rejoicing. After you have chosen to see things through their eyes, refusing to worship your feelings but rather show compassion. After you have revisited the same memories over and over again. After you have shed the same tears for the same hurt. After you have crawled back to the throne of mercy and grace and asked the Lord for His help yet again. After you have done all, stand.

Despite my best efforts and almost two years later, I am still mourning. My heart is still heavy and my emotions are still raging. A sister asked me yesterday if I have exhausted every opportunity to make things better and I told her honestly that I have. I sincerely believed that I had. Then today I went to my email and saw the confirmation of my efforts. I did not even remember that I ever wrote this email but there it was in my outbox – a humbling and fervent attempt at reconciliation; a written manifesto of my desire to be heard and understood; an overt pleading to be seen as I am and not mistaken for a malicious person of ill-intent. After all of my best efforts, after all of my hours spent in prayer asking God to show me what else I need to do, praying for peace of mind in the midst of an ending friendship, asking Him to grow me in love so that I do not repay (what feels like) hate with hate of my own, desperately seeking to be okay if reconciliation is not God’s will for us – after all of that, all I can do now is stand.

I stand by my efforts to make things better. I stand by my intentions because they were good. I stand by my friendship because even though it is over, it was genuine. I stand by the good times we shared because they gave me real and tangible joy. I stand by my emotions as well, because even though they are all over the place at the moment, I have the right to mourn in my own way.

My frustration was because the weeping was enduring for many more nights than I could have ever guessed. Where was the joy that was promised to come in the morning? Matter of fact, where was the morning? I was tired of the night – it was lasting many more weeks and months than anyone ever prepared me for. I wanted the joy that the morning promised. It can be such a frustrating thing to be genuinely seeking God’s healing over an area of brokenness in your life (in my case, a broken friendship), and never see wholeness on the horizon. I have prayed. I still pray. I have sought counsel. I have journaled. I have reasoned. I have concluded. I have attempted to see other’s perspective and it has all been helpful. There was a time when I thought I was healed. Then yesterday happened and I melted into tears again. And this morning, my thoughts led me down an emotional path once again and I find myself frustrated at myself. Why am I still crying over this? The only answer I have today is that it is okay. I trust God to perfect the healing that has begun in my heart. I am not crazy for still mourning. I am not hurting because I have not forgiven. I have. I am hurting because I am human. Yet I am not without hope. My hope for this hurt is The Healer Himself. I will continue to stand in His grace alone.

Faithful in the Wilderness

For the past many months of my life I have been in a terrifying place I have come to call my own “wilderness.” With each passing day I am stifling the silent need to scream as I realize that I have spent another 24 hours without significant time in prayer, worship or studying the Word. I am at a loss. I miss my Heavenly Father’s presence but I do not know how to get back to Him. Praying feels like I am talking to myself. I know He hears me but it is so different from my previous experience in prayers when I could tell the Holy Spirit Himself was praying through me. Reading my Bible comes in bits and pieces, definitely not daily. I am overwhelmed sometimes with guilt for not studying the Word as I should. Other times, I am frustrated because reading the Word feels like an exercise in futility because I cannot wrap my head around how to apply what I am reading in order to grow in Christ. These are all things that use to come easy and it breaks my heart to find myself at this place where it seems that I have totally drifted from intimacy with God.

By God’s keeping grace, I am not living in lawlessness or entertaining worldliness but neglecting the vital aspects of my walk with Christ feels like the epitome of willful sin. This place is utterly terrifying. People still look to me for counsel and endeavor to hold me up as a good example so I feel like I am failing not only God but also my siblings in Christ.

Since getting married and becoming a mother, life has sped up dramatically. My time is no longer my own to the same extent as it was when I was a single woman. This lack of time is not really my issue though. My issue feels like a emotional or spiritual block. Most of the time, I think it is simply a lack of discipline on my part. If I could just exercise discipline in opening my Bible every night before bed and not leaving the house in the morning without seeking my Savior’s face. The longer I spend away from the presence of God, the harder it feels to get back to Him. Sundays are a welcomed reprieve. Something special happens when I am in corporate worship with other believers. Sundays, Wednesday and Friday services at my church feel like rain on my parched spirit. I wish it could be like this in my own time with God. Sometimes I read a verse or passage in the Bible and it makes me so thankful for God’s faithfulness. He is faithful even when I am not. When others request prayers, the Lord helps me to pray for them. That typically comes easy. Praying for myself leaves me lost. Studying to teach comes easy, studying for my own edification leaves me unsatisfied. I do not have a quick fix for this. I am grateful for the people in my life who pray for me since I do not seem to know how to pray myself. My biggest prayer is that God will teach me to be faithful in this wilderness – that I will not abandon the God of my salvation.

A lot is riding on my success in Christ, most notable the future of my precious son and the well being of my household. I have no choice but to have faith in God to do what feels absolutely impossible to do in my own strength. The God who has been faithful in my wilderness will teach me to do the same.