Friendship in Family

Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to be a better friend to my family. Here are some of the practical ways I came up with, some I have already been practicing, others I intend to start or increase. I am excited about sewing these seeds of friendship and watering those already sown. I wish to inspire you to invest in the relationship with your parents, siblings, children, husband or wife. Don’t keep putting of the need to make amends, pull off that surprise or just plan a lovely evening together.

Do what you can to strengthen your family ties.

  • Create a Birthday Calendar and place reminders on your mobile phone so that you would not forget their birthdays; try to do something special for them on their birthday. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, expensive or complexed. Simplicity can speak volumes.
  • Stay in touch by calling every now and then just to say “hi” and to enquire about their well-being.
  • Be quick to say or send congratulatory messages whenever they accomplish something they are proud of.
  • Be quick to give a word of encouragement when they are going through a difficult period.
  • Listen, without interrupting, when they need to vent.
  • Plan events and activities with them in mind.
  • Offer to assist them on a personal project that is important to them.
  • Accept their telephone calls and when it is impossible to do so right away, return the call as soon as you are able to.
  • Understand and appreciate their personality and where they are in their personal growth.
  • Surprise them by doing something really special out of the blues; no occasion needed.
  • Pray for them consistently.

I believe we often take those closest to us for granted and sit back and allow our relationships to deteriorate, growing distant and insensitive to those we should value the most. Remember to start at home. That’s where true love begins.

Have an awesome day!

Featured picture: My daughter and I

It’s the Prayer Walk – Come Walk With Me.

Am I to far away from the scene, from the pain, from the horror? To feel, to cry, to stop and adequately ponder? It happened again, children forced to look into the barrel of the gun. Yes, they are mere children, they’ve only just begun and its over.

It’s slowly becoming the scary norm of our waking up and our lying down. Mentally, I am sick of it, burdened and weary. It’s a sad and distressful hour. And yet, I am not the mother or the father. I am the distanced neighbour.

Am I becoming numb, unsensitive, unmoved? while for others life is now a painful memory pool. God, are you there? Are you really there? Something is terribly twisted and contaminated; darkness lingers around us. How could I offer hope for tomorrow when tomorrow often brings more pain, when the attacks on our children are clearly in vain.

I look out the window and its, dull, dim and still. I stare into the distance and I can see a flicker of silver, a light, a glow. I fear to shift my focus because the light is igniting something inside me. Something that makes me feel like breathing intentionally the breath I received, and to keep breathing again, and to step out and walk towards the light, my hands outstretched reaching out to those who would dare to walk with me.

We choose to walk towards the light, with every step our feet grow stronger and lighter. Together we walk, in the midst of darkness, in pain and in sorrow, confused and bewildered about tomorrow, but we continue to walk. The light gets brighter and our voices are lifted up into a glorious chorus of hope. Somehow, we have been enlightened and now we walk more intentionally, more purposefully, taking two and three, as many as we can take along with us, towards the light.

And so I have concluded that I can choose to be bitter, to hate and incite revenge or I can choose to be prayerful. I choose prayer for I have not prayed enough. Perhaps if I take prayer more seriously more lives would escape the wrath of the evil master. I vow to prayerfully walk towards the light, inviting others to walk with me.

The Gift of Mentorship

Living a life of purpose involves others. Life is meaningless if all we can think about is ourselves. The real joy comes from sharing your knowledge and experience with others in a manner that uplifts and empowers.

Today I am reflecting on the fulfillment that comes from giving through mentorship.

It has been 5 months since I transitioned from working as an HR Manager, within the traditional 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. work environment, to HR Consultancy, and the one thing I am most grateful for is the opportunity to mentor aspiring HR Professionals. In November, 2021, I embarked on a journey which presented much uncertainty and the opportunity to explore new territories. What I anticipated mostly was the opportunity to build my own business with my unique standards and services and to contribute to the development of my homeland. I saw myself making a difference within organisations and in the lives of their employees.

What I did not envisage was the opportunity to mentor young aspiring HR professionals who would simply be drawn to me because I am in the same field. They are on the look-out for individuals they can connect with and learn from; individuals they can trust. Their search is often fueled by a desire to know more and to excel in their field of interest. It is encouraging to see how they are humble enough to reach out and say to older professionals, “I value what you have and I need you to support me along my development journey”.

It is good to know that there are still young people who are focused and ambitious, with great attitudes. They see value in listening to those with experience and they understand the need to respectfully sit at the feet of those who have already walked the path they have chosen.

With the flexibility I now have, I can schedule mentoring sessions with individuals who need it, and I do this freely because I know it matters. It is the best part of this journey so far. Many of them may have had rough starts or major interruptions in their lives but they display an inner strength and determination that keeps them persevering.

My encouragement to you is that as you pursue your quest to be successful, don’t forget to personally invest in others. Take the time out to pass on valuable knowledge and experience. It can make a huge difference in their lives and yours as well. Don’t underestimate how it would enrich you. Seek God’s wisdom as you endeavour to positively impact their lives. If you ever get to mentor anyone, you are indeed placed in a very influential position and must do your best to make these shared moments count.

Let them be moments that are filled with valuable lessons, not just regarding the career they have chosen, but more so lessons for sound character building and for survival. Our world is saturated with selfish ambitions, and opinions and theories that are not founded on godly principles. It means therefore that opportunities that present themselves to mentor others are also opportunities to inspire them to consider following Jesus. You see, when we speak about sound character and survival, we must speak about spiritual transformation and hope. It’s only then our mentorship would be complete.

Mentorship is a gift, accept it with honour.

God blessed women so they can have sons

It’s a good day to reflect on the wonderful gift given to women by God, the gift of bearing, nurturing and raising children.

Please don’t call him little boy or greet him by exclaiming “You got so big!”. Think about something more engaging like “It’s so great to see you, how are you doing?”

You see he doesn’t need to hold my skirt anymore depending on my knees to be strong so that his knees could grow stronger. He can now rise to his feet, on his own, when he falls he gets up! I never taught him to stay down. I am his Mama and I am proud to be his.

He no longer needs me to complete his sentences. He has come a long way building his vocabulary daily. From the moment he was planted by God in my womb his intellect began to develop and now his vocabulary is big enough and wide enough to impress his Mama. God’s gift.

He is no longer 3 years’ old or 10 or 16 or 18. No, he’s older, wiser, smarter and yet, I still call him “Baby”. “Baby, are you okay? I know you are now 21 but you are still my baby and that will never change.”

I am a proud, blessed, woman. I am your Mama!

If you are blessed with a Son , take a minute and thank God for your gift and never take him for granted. Take your responsibility seriously, even when he is older!

God’s grace abounds!

I always value a Good Plan.

Planning is a valuable tool. Have you ever noticed when you are nearing the finishing line of a project, task or a job, obstacles or distractions often reveal themselves? But then because you have planned and have planned allowing room for the unexpected, the surprises, you are able to stay on course and achieve your goal.

Some people never learnt how to plan. They live moment by moment and are often “caught with their pants down”. In some instances they are afraid to plan because they are afraid to fail. Some are even afraid of success. They miss out on great opportunities, wallow in regret and continuously seek to try catching up with life. Are you like that? Could it be me?

Do you like planning or do you think no one has control of tomorrow and planning is simply a waste of time?

I am reminded of a true story I heard concerning a young woman who knew she was dying of cancer and proceeded to plan her funeral. Do you think she was a planning freak? Do you see such efforts as extreme?

I dare to admonish us all to embrace planning some more. I have seen serious consequences as a result of planning being neglected or insufficient. We can plan our meals to encourage ourselves to consistently eat healthy. We can plan our relaxation time to ensure we have a balance. We can plan to build new habits, start new projects, get chores done and the list goes on.

I have found that successful individuals plan and sometimes their planning can be really deep or complexed. In other words, they value planning so much that they are willing to invest significant time into the process. I have found that successful individuals not only plan but they execute a high percentage of their goals.

Let’s all work on becoming better planners and committed to executing all our Plans.

Don’t just allow things to happen. Plan and implement.

The I-am poster series – I am the Vine.

This is another one of the “I am” poster series. Jesus also said that He is the Vine. As The Vine, He sustains, refreshes and nourishes. If you truly understand the character of The Vine, you would never desire to be separated from Him.

I was intrigued with this picture as I explored my options for this Poster. I chose this picture because it depicts green vegetation that is overflowing and lustrous, the same way we are expected to look when we remain connected to Christ. We stay connected by spending intimate time with Him, by meditating on his Word, by studying his Word, by praying and fasting, and through Christian fellowship. Stay connected! #inspirationforlife #beinspired #posterart.

I am the Good Shepherd – The I-Am Poster Series

John 10:11 says; “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 10:14 says; “I am the good shepherd and know my sheep and I am known of mine.”

Awesome verses! I often hear people say “God is good”. Well He is! All three in one are good (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). These two verses focuses on “Jesus”, the Son of God as the “Good Shepherd”. He called himself the good shepherd and refers to those who follow him as his sheep. I love the thought that he knows me. Isn’t that comforting? We don’t have to try to impress God, to prove to Him that we are sincere or need to explain our motives and intentions. Nope, He’s got us all figured out. In fact, He knows us more than we know ourselves.

The flip side to this thought is that the sheep also knows the shepherd. He knows his voice and he trusts him completely. Consider the literal sheep, the animal. Did you know that it can recogonise the voice of the shepherd? It is a beauty to see a shepherd communicating and leading his sheep. Jesus used this great illustration when He described himself as “The Shepherd” and His followers as “His Sheep”.

Another characteristic of good shepherds is that they are protectors, they would risk their lives to protect their sheep. The Good Shepherd did just that, He subjected himself to a gruesome death on the cross to protect all men from the snare of the evil one, Satan. He died to protect us form eternal death and separation from God.

This Poster is a reminder of this beautiful characteristic and nature of Christ. He is good and He is pure. Righteousness flows from His veins, He loves us unconditionally and his grace extends to us daily. His goodness is overwhelming. As a good shepherd, He would lead us to the green pastures where we can be fed, He would protect us from all evil and no matter how far we may drift, He would always be caring enough to beckon us with his voice to come back to the flock. He is “The Good Shepherd” and it shows.

I am the way, the truth and the life – The “I am” series

John 14:6 Says

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

This third poster in the “I am” poster series highlights Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. His truth is supreme to all other “truth”. He is the way because He is the only road that would lead to salvation, to total liberation from ourselves, from darkness, from sin. He is the Life because He was crucified for our sins but resurrected on the third day and is now sitting on the right hand of God. Because He has defeated death, He is now the giver of eternal life.

If He is all this, it means you and I have hope. In these times when there is a pandemic that seems to have no end, where there are so many meaningless deaths, deception and division on every side, Jesus remains our only true source of peace. Complete surrender to His leading can take us through this maze while keeping us sober, whole and strong enough to be a beacon of hope to others. He is here for the broken-hearted; He is able to handle our difficulties being fully equipped and capable of all things.

When man is able to find answers, to find the truth and to be placed on a road that leads to everlasting life, everlasting peace and joy, he is finally in a place of rest and contentment

May you take that step of faith and place your life and your future into the hands of The Way, The Truth and The Life, JESUS!

Keep doing the right thing

It does not matter how many times you stopped and started again, it does not matter if you got discouraged a million times or made wrong choices in the past. What matters is that you stick to it, keep working towards the outcome you desire. Consistency will eventually work out in your favor.

Doing the right thing for you may mean showing up to work every day on time, even when you feel mistreated and sidelined. It may mean going the extra mile for someone who has gone out of their way to hinder your progress. Doing the right thing may also mean saying “no” or just being honest about how you feel, even though it would cost you a friendship. Doing the right thing may mean suppressing the urge for revenge and instead choosing to rise up and walk away.

When we can see that doing the right thing is connected to our purpose; our reason for being alive, we can see the bigger picture. we can see value in doing the things that we hate, the things that require us to first become humble, to put aside hurt and rejection and still see people or situations through the eyes of a perfect God.

For the believer, our reason for persevering is larger than ourselves and the limited perspective of the world. We persevere because we want to be obedient to God, we persevere because we are equipped to conquer, to overcome, to win and in doing so, we shine. Our purpose is to win others to Christ through our lives, the way we live, the way we live; the way we treat others. The world needs to see us persevere when it really matters.

Perseverance is a sign of strength and endurance. Keep doing the right thing! Others are watching and would admire your faith and desire to do the same.

Let’s pause a minute though. This is the real world and many times we do not do the right thing. There are times when we grow weary, we throw in the towel, we experience challenges and storms that rock us violently. There are times when all we experience are blocks, walls, closed doors, and naysayers. There are times when those we trust disappoint us big time. This is the real world!

Imagine being kind to someone and giving them $1,000.00 to help them get out of a ticklish situation and that same person turns around and robs you $5,000.00. Isn’t this justifiable reason to stop being kind and to become suspicious of others. Well, based on how we think as mortal men, it can be seen as enough. But, pleasing God takes preeminence over how we see the world.

Ephesians 4:32 says it nicely, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The life-changing message here is that, we too have failed and need God’s forgiveness and as a result we should look at others with eyes of compassion, being ready to forgive. Think about it, the man who steals from you is in a sad state and needs a spiritual miracle.

Keep doing the right thing no matter what. To encourage yourself, think about school days how you persevered, think about the poverty you faced as a child and how your parents persevered. Think about that friend who was addicted to drugs and how they persevered. Think about the woman who was homeless and how she persevered. Think about the university student and how they persevered through sickness and failures. Think about the cancer patient and how they persevered. Think about minority groups and how they’ve persevered. Think about the pastor who was slandered and disrespected and how he persevered.

Then think about Jesus and His journey to the cross. He persevered through the worse pain and suffering, for you and for me. Is there anything to hard for us to do? Let’s keep doing the right thing no matter what. Do not compromise, do not fold under pressure and tough times. The blessings that will result in you doing the right thing will be indescribable and glorious.

Living in appreciation of God’s Forgiveness

On January 10, 2021, I chose to read the “Our Daily Bread” devotional. The title read “Etch a Sketch Forgiveness”. The title caught my attention and as I read it came alive. The devotion is about a young boy who had a sketch toy which he was able to use to draw lines and shapes and to create various designs. The story explains how much the little boy loved the toy but what he loved the most is when he turned his etch (his sketch toy) upside down, shook it a little and turned it right side up. According to him, this is when the magic happened. A blank screen would appear offering him the opportunity to create a new design.

This beautiful story of this little boy was used in a powerful way to remind readers of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness creates a clean canvas for us to start over. Wow! I love the illustration here. This is hope and a chance of a new life with Christ leading the way.

Psalm 103:12 was used as the key verse and it says:

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed His transgressions from us.”

As I continued to read, the writer asked, “How can you thank Him for separating your sins from you?” What a necessary question for me. What a wonderful prompt to help me reflect and regain focus. It is a deep personal question that everyone should seek to answer.

I can never repay God for what He has done for me. I can never compensate or seek to match His work on the cross. But I can live my life in a manner that shows that I am appreciative of His mercy, of the pain and suffering He endured for me. The humiliation and rejection He suffered, the loneliness, the persistent tempting of the Devil, the mockery of those who refused to believe that He truly was who He said He was; he endured it all for you and I.

Jesus Christ endured the unimaginable for us even when we did not care. It is imperative that we ask “How can I thank Him for separating my sins from me.” He paid our debt and today we can live debt free. Does our life reflect how deeply appreciative we are of His sacrifice, or does it reflect that we do not care about what transpired on the cross. Maybe to us, it is a boring historical story that has no bearing on our lives today.

As I think about the question and seek to identify the “how”, I urge you to do the same. Don’t let His pain be in vain.