Seeing that I did a Mothers Day version on Mothers Day it’s only natural that I do one for the Fathers on Father's Day right?Well, here goes!
There are many fathers in the Bible but whether some are good or not is left for interpretation. I will share what I learnt studying some of the fathers in the Bible.
Exodus 18: 9- 25
Jethro was a good father in law who saw Moses as one of his own. He brought his daughter and grandchildren to Moses and it was during this visit that he observed what Moses was doing. He saw that Moses was stretching himself thin and that it would not be conducive in the long run. Instead of keeping this observation to himself he advised Moses who also wisely took it on. There are so many thing to learn here but I will mention a few.
How many father -in- laws will visit their children, notice something but say nothing? How many only notice the ‘bad’ things that their son/daughter in law is doing and only talks to say how they are not up to scratch? How many are one sided in their judgement of home affairs and feel that their child is right by default? How many actually even see their son/daughter in law as their own and not just an in law?
Now, how many would actually have a relationship where they can advise their son or daughter- in- law? Not just a relationship built on culture but one where there is actually dialogue to the point that your son/daughter- in-law actually heeds the advice you give them because they know your intentions pure?
These are all food for thought. If marriage is in God’s plan for your child then you will be a father- in- law one day. Take a leaf from Jethro’s book and be the right one.
Isaac and Jacob
Why have I put both of them together? Well, they both had the generational problem of favoritism; they proffered one child to the others. I will start with Isaac.
Genesis 25:27-28; Genesis 27:1-41
Isaac’s family was dysfunctional as both parents had their favorite child. This cannot have been a good atmosphere to grow up in. Esau was Isaac’s favorite and he planned on giving him a double portion of blessing on his deathbed. He preferred Esau because he was also a wild man who liked to hunt just like he did. This is important to note as favoritism can arise due to one child sharing a particular interest that you too like. Naturally you may feel a closer affinity to that child but it should in no way result to favoritism. If anything you should take extra care to ensure that your love is evident for all your children regardless of whether they have the same passions as you do.
Genesis 29:15-31 ; Genesis 30:22-24; Genesis 37:1-2
Jacob had a favorite who was Joseph but his reasons were different. As we know Joseph was born of Rachel who was the wife that Jacob loved the most. She had a delay in childbearing and once she conceived I can imagine that Jacob was over the moon. Joseph was not his first child however as he pretty much had a football team with Leah. None of this mattered however as once Joseph was born Jacob saw nobody else. In fact, he even made a technicolor coat for just Joseph which must have endeared him to his brothers no doubt.
A key point here is that Jacob was born from the woman he loved the most. Why does this matter now? Well, nothing new is under the sun and in this day and age there are many blended families. Another family dynamic could be a father having more than one baby mother (I’m not keen on the term but it’s the only word I can use). Maybe a man could’ve had a child with woman A and the relationship breaks down and ends on bad terms. They manage to co-parent. Just about.
Some years pass and he meets woman B who he loves a whole lot and ends up marrying her and they have children together. Subconsciously or otherwise if he is not careful he may begin to be indifferent to the child he had with Woman A whilst lavishing all his attention on the children he has with woman B. It’s not so much the child he has an issue with but the mother, woman A and this may roll over into how he treats that child.
If you are father who has children with different women take care to show love equally to all of them. Even if they are not all under the same roof there are ways that you can show that you love them. Leave no impression that you favour one child to another due to their mum or otherwise. Children are innocent and should not bear the brunt of the decisions that you made.
Hmm. I don’t know the meaning of his name but deceitful would not be off the mark; Laban was a con artist. He was crafty, mean and a liar. I mean he strung Jacob along for 14 good years! Whilst it can be said that Jacob was getting his own dish served to him (he deceived Esau) it does not take away from the fact that Laban was mean.
I don’t believe that such wickedness grew overnight and came only when Jacob arrived; he must have shown such signs before then. I wonder how he treated his daughters. His workers. His wife. What example was he showing his children? We see later on in Genesis 31: 30-35 that Rachel also lies when she hides the idols of her father.
As a father you may not attain the levels that Laban did in wickedness but are you mean in other ways? Are you nasty to your wife or mother of your child(ren)? Do you really think that your children won’t pick up on such behaviour? Are you deceitful? Do you keep to your words or you backtrack more times than a broken record? Stop it. Be better. Do better. His grace is sufficient.
I know some will say that Joseph was chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus but let us focus on why he was chosen. He must have displayed attributes that made him the right candidate for the role. Does it mean he was perfect? No. We see snippets of his character in the way that he treated Mary. When he found out she was pregnant he did not want to disgrace her publicly. Even in her ‘shame’ he wanted to part ways quietly. This speaks of a man of integrity. He must have been pained especially as he did not yet know that it was an immaculate conception but he did not react in anger. We see later on that an angel appears to him to set the record straight. Thank God he listened. When Jesus was born Joseph recognised that he was a steward of Jesus and that ultimately He belonged to God. When you think about it that is what you are as a father; a steward of the child(ren) that God has entrusted you with. They are not in your care for them to follow or live out the dreams that you were not able to; They are here to fulfill their God given purpose. Do not stand in the way of that.
Being a father is not easy but it can be made easier with the help of the Holy Spirit. Include Him in your parenting and watch your children blossom. Forget what society has to say- fathers are very much needed. I pray that you be type of father to your child(ren) that God is to us.
Another year with the same issue
One that I did not subscribe to
But each time without fail
Another day with another friend
Sending words of encouragement
That it won’t last forever
Except forever is here and refuses to leave
I want a refund, I never signed up for this
Please redirect the mail to someone else
It has been 11 long years,
Not that I am counting of course.
But at least I am counting something
Even if it’s not my blessings
And no, I am not surprised
And I am yet to see what the Lord has done
I’ve gone far and wide
I’ve spent a little and I’ve spent a lot
I’ve prayed and I have fasted.
I’ve done all I can and still
I hear He is coming.
I’ve heard about his exploits
Maybe I’ll go and see Him.
I have nothing to lose
Except my mustard seed
The crowd is large
Everyone wants to see Him.
Jesus is sold out
To the people and He is filled with compassion
I won’t be able to see Him up close and personal
But the crowd is ahead of me
And I’m running against the tide
Against the flow that threatens to come out
My faithful ‘friend’ gently reminding me that
I’ve got mail.
I’m pushing and shoving
And God forgive me but I just need to get to Him
Before my mustard seed withers
Because that is all I have
I can see the back of His head
And that is enough
I try to call Him but my voice is one of many
In this sea of hope
He does not hear me.
It hits me that I may not see Him
But I can touch Him.
If He can’t help me nobody else can.
And so I reach out.
If I can just touch the hem
That’s all I ask for
Just the hem of His Garment
I will be made whole
And in an instant everything changes
No more moistness
But He is off again and then He
“Who touched me”
Silence. One of the disciples tries to brush it off
After all the crowd is large
But He is not budging.
“I felt power leave me”
And that’s when I come forward
Everyone touched Him but He did not touch everyone
The power leaving Him met my mustard seed
And allowed it to grow.
I step forward to confess.
At least I will see Him face to face.
“It is I. I touched you and immediately I’ve been made whole
12 years this issue plagued me but here, in an instant after I touched you
I’ve been healed.
Halleluiah I have been healed”.
He looks at me with love and says
“It is well my daughter. Your faith is what has made you whole.
Go on in peace”
And suddenly I am overcome
And awash with tears
Shame is no longer my surname.
I am whole.
Happy Mother's Day! And if you're not yet a mother like me and you desire to be one in the future just smile awkwardly, say Amen and keep it moving (like I have been doing) :P.
Mother's Day is a great time to reflect and show thanks to anyone who has shown you motherly love whether biological or otherwise. Because being a mother is more than just biology. I thought it would be cool to look at some mothers in the Bible and some lessons I got from them.
Genesis 25:28; Genesis 27:5-10
We all remember who she is right? If not let me refresh your memory; she was the wife of Isaac and mother to Jacob and Esau. Not much is said about how she was as a mother except for the fact that she did show favouritism between her two children. She wasn't the only one however as Isaac was in on it too but my focus will be on Rebekah.
I don't think it is fair to say that she was a bad mother because of her favouritism but I think we can agree that showing favouritism when you have children is certainly not a good thing. Why? It can breed a number of insecurities within children with the less favoured one not feeling adequate and desperately trying to get your attention at all costs- even if it means misbehaving. Favouritism does not have to be vocalised; your actions can show it too. Celebrate the differences amongst your children and get to know them for who they are and now who you want them to be.
You may have come across adults that still lament the fact that their mum preferred their younger or older sibling to them. It really is not a nice thing to do and the only time where favouritism between your children will work is if you have an only child.
We do not hear much about Herodias either but what we do hear of her in the Bible is not good; she tells her daughter to request for the beheading of John. In the passage Salome does not question her mother and it seems as if such a request is nothing out of the ordinary. Now we don't know the ins and outs of their relationship but it could be fair to assume that Herodias has told her daughter to do other bad things before either by speech or by example. She clearly had no respect for those called by God such as John the Baptist and this was passed on to her daughter Salome. Of course it can be argued that after a certain age one should reach the point where you know right from wrong and Salome chose to listen and do as her mother instructed. What we should realise however is that mothers have an immeasurable amount of influence and if it is not used wisely it can lead to destruction. Children enter the world with a blank slate and as a mother you play a part in writing what will form their core values and the like-at least up until 18. Herodias did not use her influence well and also did not respect those that God had called.
How do you use your influence as a mother? What are you showing your children? How do you speak about the things of God around them? Do you even speak to them about it? It starts from when they are babies even all up until they grow up; children learn more by observation than what you tell them so if your words do not match up with your actions in a positive manner then you run the risk of being seen as a hypocrite.
Genesis 16:4; Genesis 21:9
I won't dwell too long on this and for more info check out my post that is all about Hagar. She is sent away in the first place for mocking Sarah because she is yet to have a child. She's not away for too long as she is told to go back and be submissive to Sarah. All seems well for a while until Ishmael grows up and he too follows her footsteps and mocks is half brother Isaac. This is just too much for Sara to bear and she orders that they be sent away- and for good this time round.
The fact that Ishmael also mocks suggests that it is learned behaviour that he most likely learnt from his mum. What are we teaching our children? Most importantly if they have gone to school or elsewhere and have picked up bad habits are we overwriting it by reminding them of the right thing to do?
1 Samuel 1: 6-7
This is similar to that of Hagar in the sense that she would torment Hannah because she was yet to have a child. I wonder what kind of atmosphere this created at home and what her children would have witnessed and learnt from this behaviour. How you speak of others around your children matters. Are we speaking with grace or are our words cutting and not conducive to building anyone up except self?
1 Samuel 1:10-11 ;1 Samuel 1:21-28
Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord both in word and action too. It is not enough to just go to church and have your child be dedicated- our lives should continuously be dedicated to God in all that we do. Whilst it may not mean physically leaving your child in the house of God it does mean leading by example and training your child in the ways of the Lord.
Ruth 1: 8-18; Ruth 3:1-5
If you ever want to follow a blueprint of the type of mother-in-law that one should be look no further than Naomi. She took Ruth and Orpah as her own even after the death of her sons. Orpah decides to leave but it is not due to her being a bad mother in law. She leaves for her own personal 'gains'/ reasons.
God forbid that a spouse should pass away, many would follow the route of Orpah simply because they've had a strained relationship with their mother in law and now that the link is seemingly gone they also decide to distance themselves.
Some of you demand things from your daughters in law that your own child won't do for you. Some of you are negative from the beginning and just see nobody as good enough for your child.
Naomi was not like that and really took Ruth under her wing and watched our for her as if she was her daughter- because she was. It is not recorded in the Bible that Ruth or Orpah even had children and so Naomi was not a grandmother yet. In some cultures or families that may have caused an issue but Naomi was not led by culture- she was led by God.
I'm sure there are countless more mothers that we can go through in the Bible but I hope that you've gained something from those listed above. Are there any things that you learnt from these mothers or others mentioned in the Bible? Let me know :)
How has your year been? Great, abysmal or a 'let's not talk about it' kind of year. Either which way you're alive! At least you must be to be reading this so that counts for something right?
As usual I am back again with my annual end of your blog post. I've been a bit quiet on this blog and that is because I have been discovering myself offline which will reflect in due time online.
So, what were some of the lesson I learnt this year? Hmm. Quite a few but I will try to keep it short and sweet.
1. Hold on to His word
If God has given you a word hold unto it for dear life. I touched on it briefly in my graduation post but I will speak on it more here. The word that He gave me has and is still seeing me through. Life post uni was interesting to say the least. September was the best and worst month of my life. I was job hunting like crazy and my faith was stretched like never before. So many other things were running through my mind at the same time and nothing seemed to make sense. What do I want to do? What do I not want to do? Can I merge my creative talents with other things? Should I just stick to what I know? And so on and so forth.
I literally cried every single day in September. I remember meeting up with two of my girls early October and saying that this was the first week where I had not cried so that was a testimony in itself.
It was in this month however that I got to know God more than ever before and really understand what it means to trust Him. Totally. I can confidently say that the quarter of the year has been my favourite and that is all down to the growth I experienced in Him.
I thank God that He did come through for me and I got a job. I'd be lying if I said I still understand where everything is leading but things are becoming a lot more clearer and I see how He is piecing the puzzle together.
So yeah, hold unto God and hold unto His word. It works.
2. My Identity in Christ
Again, this last quarter of the year I really learnt more about who I am in Him and what it means. I learnt that my identity is not tied to any role I have, anything I own or what people say about me; it is what God says about me that matters the most. We are all unique and the plans He has for us differ. We know this yet we still watch the time of others. Why? The timings of our life are not the same and we are all in various seasons. I learnt (afresh) to stay in my lane and mind my own business. So no comparison, no asking 'Why me', no self pity. Instead I choose to keep my eyes on Him and trust that His timing is best.
When you know your identity in Christ you are secure. Insecurities have no choice but to leave. Whenever they come up you remind yourself of who God says you are. When you know your identity in Christ you do not try to emulate anyone because you are you and they are them. I could go on but I will save that for another blog post.
3. Friendship is everything
Good friendship that is! I have learnt the importance of surrounding yourself with like minded and good people that will encourage you. Most importantly I have seen the benefits of Godly friendship and the unique accountability that it brings. Whilst it is great to be surrounded by such people it is more important to BE that person.
It was also the year that I did my first blog related event which was pretty cool. Here is to many more (maybe, possibly).
Going forward and into 2019 I am determined to use my time better and to live fearlessly. All in all 2018 has been a very good year for me and foundational in many regards. Whilst I do not know what 2019 has to offer I do know that God has gone before me and because of that I walk in that assurance.
Another year another birthday. This time round I turned 24 on 1st December. Looking back on this past year and I am so grateful for everything. What a difference a year can make. I can honestly say that this year was my best so far and the lessons I have learnt have been pivotal.
This was also the year that I graduated and travelled quite a bit too so all in all 23 was quite colourful. I really am excited about this new year and there will be changes- some that you will see on this blog in due time.
As my birthday was on a Saturday I decided to make it a weekend affair starting off with going to VQ Aldgate, a 24 hour restaurant on Friday evening with two friends. It was a pretty cool way to enter my birthday.
Early on in October my youngest sister turned 13 and it took me back to when I was 13. It's hard to believe that she is now beginning her teenager years. Time flies. I decided to write some advice that I wish I knew when it was my time but those are some of the cons of being the oldest. You go through the challenges, so the others don't have to. Sometimes. In any case here is some advice to my sister and anyone else who is on the cusp of their teenage years.
1. Know yourself
Ok ok, you will not know yourself totally as you are still very much at the stage of growing not just physically but emotionally too. You are still in the process of becoming. Still, knowing yourself means knowing your likes and dislikes. With time this develops into forming your own personal values. It sounds like a lot right now but as you go further into your teenage years (and beyond) it will put you in good stead. At first they will be based on what your parents like or dislike as you are being raised by them. Over time however it goes beyond that and you form your own set of beliefs. It is important that you do know yourself however otherwise society will tell you who you are and that seldom ends well.
2. 'Unscrew' peer pressure
I'd be lying if I said peer pressure won't happen and guess what? It continues up until the day you die. I will say however that there is something about it happening during your teenage years that can really derail you for the worst if you are not careful. Unscrew. Why? People around you will try to nail their desires of what they think you should be doing into your mind but you have the power to unscrew it. You really do not have to do anything just because 'everyone else is'. You are you. They are them. The only time they should cross paths is when it is for a good purpose. Otherwise? Stay in your lane. It can be lonely but it's better than being surrounded by false expectations. The saddest thing is that you will find some of your friends falling victim to this and you can see right through it. It becomes obvious in the playground when interacting with peers. Do not ever feel pressured to do anything you do not want to from friends to guys and anything else. Too early to mention the latter? I'm not naïve and I know the types of conversations that go on amongst teens because I too was privy to such in my time. It does not matter if all your friends are doing something, if you don't want to do it then don't. It ties into number 1; knowing yourself. When you do the opinions of others become irrelevant.
3. Cherish your innocence
I know that it's becoming increasingly hard to but please do hang unto your innocence. Innocence does not have to mean naivety. I mean innocence in the sense of not rushing to be grown up. You have the rest of your life to wear make up (if you want) and also trip over yourself in heels too and all the other things you may 'deem' as grown up. They're not going anywhere and they will be waiting for you once you pass the age of 18. I know that social media has fast tracked this process and you're exposed to so much more than I ever was at your age but it is ok to shut it all out and just be. Do not be naïve however because of a truth the world can be a wicked place and you need to know that not everyone has a right moral compass- if any at all. Innocence is also not ignorance and you should be clued up on what is happening around you but you don't need to know everything. Not just yet. But when you do know I trust that you will have the confidence to not allow the ways of the world to corrupt you.
4. Hormones can be an absolute killer!
By now you must have come across some of my old facebook statuses. I was something else wasn't I? I really was in my 'feelings' at times but that's the thing with hormones at times- they tend to amplify what you are already feeling and make it seemingly worse. There are times you will feel like the whole world is against you but that it is really not the case. It's just your hormones messing about with you because, puberty. I'm not saying don't feel. Feel and have emotions. Just know that if you're feeling even more terrible than usual and with no reason for it then its hormones. Definitely hormones.
5. Be a good person in secondary school
I cannot stress this enough. You do not realise it now but the memories you are making right now will be hard to erase later. That can be a good or bad thing depending on who you were and how you treated others. People don't forget who the nasty ones were back in school. If you were a bully then you will always be remembered as a bully in years to come. Even if you change, the actions that you did to others in the past are still there and the chances of everyone you have wronged in the past coming across a new and improved version of you are slim. Is it the end of the world then if you were a bully then and you change as you grow up? No. But you must realise that nobody owes you another chance to prove yourself. So, be a good person. Treat everyone with respect. Everyone. Not because of what you can gain but just because it is the right thing to do.
6. Your friendship groups will change
Sorry to burst your bubble but it will happen. People change and some will move schools so it is inevitable that your friendship circle will differ as you grow up. It is not a bad thing and is a part of life. Over time and well after you leave your teenage years the number of people you still consider as friends from secondary school will reduce. I used to roll my eyes when people said this to me then but as I got older I saw it was true. The ones that really matter stay and don't leave. Try as you might to shake them off they refuse to go because they want to maintain that friendship. You may not speak as often as you once used to but they are solid and often become the backdrop on which the other friends you acquire in later life now join. Make sure to never take them for granted in the process of discovering the 'newness' of meeting others. It can be tempting to get carried away with getting to know a new friend and forgetting 'old' friends but who says the two cannot coexist? On the flip side make sure to never hold unto a dying friendship just because you both have 'history' together and you knew each other since secondary school. Ultimately it is about those who are there for you and that's it. Real recognises real, not based on the years of friendship but the depth of it.
7. Having a crush is normal
You will find boys attractive and that is perfectly normal. You might be tempted to want to act on the attraction and whilst it is deemed the norm I wouldn't recommend it. For starters they rarely lead to anything and it often ends up being used as a way to while away time. Don't get me wrong, childhood sweethearts exist but it is not the story for everyone.
8. Enjoy your teenage years
Make the most of it and have good wholesome fun whilst you're at it too. Enjoy the times when you have 0 responsibilities because once they arrive they don't stop. Some people say that their teenage/ secondary school days were their best times. Some say otherwise but what do I know? Live in the present and be mindful of the choices you make now but just know that the best is yet to come
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
Iron sharpens iron. If God is indeed our friend and our God, He should be able to sharpen us. Have you watched a video of a blacksmith beating iron into submission? The beating is not meant to cause pain or damage but rather to refine the object. Now, imagine that you are the iron and God is 'beating' you into submission. Painful, right? Thing is, we are not objects but beings with flesh and a heart that beats and sometimes it feels that God is 'stomping' on our hearts, our wills and our desires.
When iron sharpens iron, extreme heat is involved. The iron object is exposed to fire. If you were to touch the object then you would burn yourself. A thing that can be learned here is to grace people when they're going through the fire. Often times when we meet someone through the fire it is not always a true reflection of who they are. They may be temporarily embittered or angry at God and the world and this can reflect in their interactions with others. Try not to take it personally but rather lift them up in prayer. The same fire that can refine a person can also cause scars if care is not taken. May the latter not be our portion in Jesus name.
Depending on the exact specification of what is required, the iron is then twisted and moulded into the final form. This is because iron, pure iron anyway, is malleable; it can be bent into what is required of it. Some of us may say that we are iron but that is not 100% correct as we are an amalgamation of various metals thus rendering us to be composite materials. This could be pride, jealousy, unforgiveness and much more.How then can we be sharpened? We end up being resistant to the process and what God had desired to use to mould us to be better Christians instead mars us and we become embittered towards Him. Are we going to allow God to mould us-completely? Or are we just going to go through the process in vain?
Iron sharpens iron, yes but we have to allow it to and a part of that is embracing the process, the fire and the pain. God does not force anyone and it is possible that He stops during the process due to our refusal to be bent and that in itself can leave us deformed.
When we see fellow Christians sharing their testimonies it is because they have allowed God to sharpen them. Will you do the same? There are multiple seasons of sharpening in our lives and the end of one that culminates in a testimony can sometimes mean that another season of such is on its way. Maybe you're going through the fire right now and if so then you are not alone because I am in it too but most importantly God is here, in the fire with us and provided that we submit ourselves to Him then we will come out refined and moulded into what God has called us to be.