Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Check Your Heart. Check Your Life.

Dear Friends

It has been a long time away from here. I am glad to be back here to touch base with you. I have been on the other side (the website) making sure that the transition process goes smoothly. As I mentioned in previous blog post last year, the blog Enriching Lives. Inspiring Hope. is moving to the Feet of Grace Foundation website at www.feetofgracefoundation.org

I am pleased to inform you that a new blog has been posted on the Website. Please click the link below to read the blog post. While you are there, please take a moment to subscribe for the newsletter and the blog posts. You don't need to do this if you are already subscribed on this blog. Your email address has already been exported and you would have received this blog post in your mailbox.

Check Your Heart. Check Your Life.

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to review the previous year, learn lessons from the past and plan to do better in the year ahead. Part of that review includes identifying what worked well and what we need to improve on. It is a unique opportunity to recalibrate and then, launch out. So it was for me. I spent the first four weeks of 2016 having a critical review of my life. It is appropriate that my first blog post in 2016 and the first on this new platform be devoted to the lessons I learnt in the process.

To all of you that I am connecting with for the first time in 2016, let me use this opportunity to welcome you to the Feet of Grace Foundation website. I pray that 2016 will be a year of divine celebrations and total restoration in every sphere of your lives.

Read more

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Dawn Of A New Day

"Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it shall spring forth (come to light); 
can you not perceive and know it and give heed to it?" 
Isaiah 43:19.

A new day is a promise of new possibilities. It is a proclamation of new beginnings. It is a new era. The dawn of a new day encourages us to get ready to see long-harbored expectations and aspirations made manifested in every sphere of our lives. These and more were the definitions of a new day expounded by Pastor Mark Mordi on Sunday, December 6th in Zurich.

The message caught fire in my spirit and raised my level of expectations to see the manifestations of the goodness of God in our lives in a brand new way as 2015 rolls to an end. Even much more, I am fired up to look into 2016 with greater hope and anticipation.

I long and desire to see the brilliance of the glory of God and the Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ, illuminating every corner and every sphere of my life and of the lives of all my loved ones. I long to see it radiating to touch the lives of everyone in our sphere of influence.

Indeed, a new beginning has dawned for the Feet of Grace Foundation. In my blog post of March 6th, 2015, Feet Of Grace In Motion, I shared with you how the idea to start the Foundation was conceived following the amputation of my feet in May 2013. I nurtured the dream of seeing the Foundation impacting lives in ways far beyond my imagination, reaching out to people far and wide.

The dream is coming to pass, and it is daily unfolding what God wants to do through the Feet of Grace Foundation. So, it is with great pleasure and gratitude to God that I announce that the Feet Of Grace Foundation website is now live. See it at http://feetofgracefoundation.org/

The dawn of a new day also means a change from where we were before. Therefore, the blog, Enriching Lives. Inspiring Hope will  relocate from this site to the Feet of Grace Foundation Website. News and information about the activities of the Foundation  will be posted from the new site. I will continue to share my story and testimonies of the amazing goodness of God in our lives at the new site.

To facilitate smooth transition, I will post a notice here each time there is a blog post at the new website and point you toward it. We will also export the mailing list for subscription there so that you can continue to receive the blog post by email. To this end, all the subscribers at this site and those on my mailing list will receive a notice welcoming you to the new site shortly.

In the long-term, my posting on this current site will be limited to messages to enrich relationships especially for those married and preparing for marriage, as the Lord gives me the grace.

Thank you for sharing this space with me for the past three years. I am looking forward to welcoming you to the new site.

Upcoming Events:

Shop With Purpose Christmas Charity Bazaar holds in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday, December 12th, 2015. The purpose is to raise funds to support two physically-challenged women and put a smile on their faces this Christmas.

Joy lost her right arm in an accident. She needs a prosthetic arm and an income-generating activity.

Ana is a wheel-chair bound widow with children. She needs a new wheelchair and an income-generating activity to support her family.

About fifty friends from fourteen countries have contributed over four hundred new gift items which will be sold at the bazaar. If you are in Geneva area, please join us. Make your Christmas Shopping a double impact of blessings; for your loved ones and for these two dear daughters of God. Proceeds from the sales of these donated items will be used to support Joy and Ana.

Venue: Salle Presbytere, Route de Sauverny 7, Versoix 1290, Geneva.

Together, we will bring about the dawn of a new day of new possibilities for these women. Please contact me if you would like to contribute towards this initiative.

Many thanks to all of you who donated the gift items. May the Lord richly bless and reward you with the good measures and the overflowing. Your amazing generosity is much appreciated and valued.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Quest To See And Value Your Amazingness – Part 2

Watch what you are seeing or focusing your attention on. Because what you focus your attention on feeds your mind and what you think about the most affects your attitude.

When we focus our attention on the things we don’t have yet, we miss the opportunity to be grateful for the things we have. We miss the amazing goodness of God on display in our lives every day when we grumble and complain about the things we want and have yet to receive.

In the first part of this blog post, I shared an example of how I failed to take note of the amazingness of my husband while focussing more on what I desired of him. My husband champions my cause. He promotes my interest, and he acts with my best interest at heart. It is very easy to miss the many quiet and seemly little ways he does this. And in missing them, I also fail to acknowledge and appreciate them. This can happen to any of us, even with the best intentions, if we have not made a conscious and deliberate decision to pay attention to the good in our spouse; to seek to see and value the unique and amazing things they do, which we often take for granted.

Our arch-enemy, the devil, is hell-bent on attacking Christian marriages. And it seems unwittingly, we are collaborating with him. We are not fighting a good fight for our marriages. We have become lethargic and slothful in this battle to erode the foundation of Christian marriage. A friend once said to me that we, the Christians, are no longer making marriages attractive. The world cannot seem to see the difference between us who professes to have God as the cornerstone of our marriage and those who don’t.

A Conscious Decision:
Craig Groeschel in his article; “It can be as good as you decide” made a profound statement that he and his wife decided their marriage will be as good as they decide it to be. They decided. They made the decision that come what may; their marriage will be good. It was a deliberate, conscious decision. They decided that they would seek God together, pray together and put God first. They decided that they would always fight towards resolution instead of towards winning, which left plenty of room for forgiveness and love. Simply put, they decided that they will make their marriage as good as they can for each other with the help of God.

They, the two of them, decided. It is taking both of them working together as one. They chose a focus for their marriage. They decided what they were going to allow to guide their attention and what will keep them working at making their marriage work.

You can decide how good your marriage will be. That is the starting point. It becomes the guiding principle for the marriage; that through the storms and the struggles we will do everything in our power to make our marriage good.

A critical element of making our marriage good is seeking to see the good in our spouse. It is paying attention to the good and unique qualities in them, acknowledging it, appreciating it and thanking God for it.

“One of the greatest secrets to a happy marriage is gratitude. Thankfulness. An overt recognition of your spouse’s amazingness” – Shauna Feldhahn.

What You Are Thinking About Matters:
You see, what you focus your attention on about your spouse will feed your thoughts about him/her—what you will be meditating on about your spouse. Eventually, what you are thinking about the most about your spouse will affect your attitude towards him/her. If your mind is filled with negative thoughts about your spouse, you will become emotionally disconnected with him/her. That will create a gap between the two of you.

Take a moment to ponder on this. Very often we find ourselves moody, cranky and sour towards our spouses. Check what you had been meditating on before your mood became foul and sour. It is most likely that you have been meditating on your spouse’s shortcomings, and weaknesses, and before long you are building an argument ready to react to him/her on the issue. Sometimes, what you are building an argument against in your heart has not even happen yet. It is simply an outcome of the subtle suggestions of the enemy. If you don’t pay attention to the negative suggestions that the enemy drops in your mind but spend time mulling over these negative suggestions, they will take root and begin to sour your attitude.

When the enemy turned on the bad channel, we need to consciously change the channel and keep changing it even when it appeared that it is automatically reverting to the bad channel. You actively change the channel by fixing your thoughts on what is right, true, pure, honourable, excellent, and of good report. Then you go a step further, and you speak it out so your ears can hear the truth of God’s Word against the lies suggested by the enemy.

Seek to see good:
Quit complaining, nagging and focusing on what your spouse is not doing right and where he/she is yet to come to par. But start taking note of and appreciating the good qualities in your spouse—there must be some if you have chosen to marry him/her. It is when you begin to notice the amazingness of your spouse, acknowledging and appreciating it that you will be able to draw out the other good qualities you desire to see in your spouse. The more we neglect to see and appreciate the good that is present now in our spouses, the less we are likely to attract the good we want to see in them. 

When we make a conscious and deliberate effort to value the amazing qualities in our spouses, it helps us to expect and have the confident hope that these qualities will show up in their lives and impact our relationship. You simply need to have eyes that seek to find the good in your spouse and be keenly aware of their amazing value or attributes. Train your eyes to see the good in your spouse and watch that good revealed at every turn. Take note of it when it is revealed and go the extra mile to acknowledge and appreciate it.

Bridging the gulf
Are there dark corners in your life and your relationships? Areas where you are not open and honest with each other, where you have hidden stuff from each other. When you have such dark corners in your relationship, it cannot be truly illuminated, flooded with light as it ought to be so that you can be deeply and truly intimate with each other.

These dark corners bring tension into the relationship and often obliterate our vision and prevents us from seeing the true value and amazingness of our spouse. They fester as they become a cesspool of filth the enemy dumps on our minds about our spouse and our relationship. Therefore, a quest to see and value your spouse amazingness requires that you have open and honest conversations so that you can deal with those dark areas that have created a gulf between you.

To have the kind of marriage that God desires for us to have, both husband and wife will have to do their fair share of forgiving. Especially forgiving what will be considered unforgivable. Perhaps, your relationship has gone sour—your spouse has broken faith, and you have experienced betrayal. Maybe you are at the point of giving up on the marriage, and you simply cannot see good anymore. This is also a pivotal point to put forgiveness into action. Forgiving the unforgivable is reflecting the forgiving nature of our God who forgave us our sins while we were still yet sinners. Whatever the outcome, forgiving your spouse will be liberating for you.

“Marriage means persevering. It means never giving up on each other.”

The principles shared in this blog post applies to all our relationships. When we complain and grumble about the things that are not going right, and we see only the things our children, our friends and government are not doing right, we will fail to see the good in anyone or situation. We, therefore, cannot be thankful for what we fail to see.

This is even more important in our relationship with God. Do you have an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness that seeks to see the goodness of God daily and in every situation even when it seems hard? An attitude of gratitude and a mindset that seeks to see good will attract God’s favour towards us. Seek to see God's goodness each day even when it seems least visible and you will find His goodness functioning at its best on your behalf.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the United States.

Let’s all develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving as we seek to see and value the amazingness of God in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.

This post is dedicated to the my amazing husband. I am blessed to have you in my life. You are much loved, valued and appreciated.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Quest To See And Value Your Amazingness Part 1

It has been a long while since I wrote to enrich marriages. I have not lost sight of this part of my commitment to my readers to enrich relationships, especially marriages. I stumbled on some quotes and messages in the past few weeks coupled with my personal experience that brought enriching relationships back to the front burner. I will share in this post nuggets I have gleaned from these purposeful enlightening experience.

Paul’s prayer in the Book of Ephesians struck me, and I found it instructive for this post. I will paraphrase Chapter 1 verse 18 as follows;
"I pray that your eyes of understanding will be focused, clear and enlightened (your hearts will be flooded with light) so that you may see exactly God is calling you to do, and know and understand the confident hope He has given to those He called;"

In verse 17, Paul prayed that Jesus Christ will give us spiritual wisdom and insight, making us intelligent and discerning so that we may grow in our knowledge of God; knowing Him personally, deeply and intimately.

We need spiritual wisdom and insight to know God intimately. We need to have our eyes sharpened and focussed to see the goodness of God in our every waking moment. It is very easy for our vision to be obscured by the challenges, adversities and problems we have in life that we fail to take note of, acknowledge and appreciate the goodness of God; we often to fail to pay attention to the good that God is doing in our lives each day. In failing to do so, we also fail to appreciate God and give thanks, praise and adoration to Him for His wonderful deeds. We also fail to give Him the glory due to Him. 

This lack of gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness hinders a close and intimate relationship with God. Because we will tend to complain and grumble more about the things we are yet to have or receive from God.

Seek To See Good:
We need to seek to see God's goodness each day even when it seems least visible, and we will find His goodness functioning at its best on our behalf. We have to train our eyes to see the good God richly pours out even in the midst of our trials. When we do so will see good revealed at every turn. If we don’t make a concerted and deliberate effort to see the good in our lives each day, our eyes and minds will always focus on the part of the cup that is empty and we will miss the many blessings already in the cup.

This truth is also applicable to our relationships. So often, we fail to see the good in the lives of those God has brought into our lives; these could be our spouses, siblings, friends, etc. While my emphasis in this blog will be on our relationship with our spouse, this principle is relevant to all our relationships.

A dear Senior Sista-Friend shared with me recently The UCB Word for Today devotional titled “Strengthen Your Marriage.” In this devotional, a couple celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary shared three Cs that helped to strengthen their marriage.
1.       Commitment – putting the other person first
2.       Concern – genuinely seeking to find out what your spouse needs. “Because husbands and wives are as different as cheese and chalk.”
3.       Coping – “We can work it out.” You cannot always avoid conflict, but you can make it work for you.

A statement in the devotional caught fire in my spirit; “Closeness in marriage is not an accident; it is a decision you make, and keep making each day.”

I am strongly persuaded that one of the most important ways to develop emotional and spiritual intimacy in our marriage, and ultimately physical intimacy, is a quest to see and appreciate the good in our spouse. Beyond that, also to acknowledge and appreciate the good we see irrespective of the other changes our hearts desire to see in them. It is amazing what we can see and how much we can see when we give more than a cursory look and give attention to details.

Let me share my story with you to illustrate this point:
It was one of those weeks when so many things had to happen at the same time. It was also one of those weeks that my husband was at home in between long travels. We sat across each other on our dining table made of thousands of green glass smithereens sandwiched between two slabs of solid glass. The glass top dining table continues to be a source of inspiration to me and amazement to everyone who pays attention to it. Its uniqueness becomes more obvious as you take a closer look.

I was working with an intense focus on a protocol due for submission in less than 24 hours. My husband was also intently focused on the pile of envelopes on one side of his laptop, which he moved to the other side after working on the content of each envelope. I looked up occasionally from my laptop, wanting to catch his eyes on me or catch him looking at me with a smile. It didn’t happen. So I continued with my work.

Suddenly, my nerves fired shots of electricity through my right stump, and I winced in pain. Repeated firings had me groaning out loud. I looked across the table at my husband. He was so wrapped up in what he was doing that he didn’t hear me groaning.

So I kicked him with my left leg under the table. His head shot up, and he looked straight at me;
“You are not paying attention to me.”
He furrowed his brow. His eyes bore into mine. I winced again as another shot fired up my stump.
“My stump… Electric shocks…”
“Oh, sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t hear you.” His face lightened up, and the furrow disappeared.

The firing finally stopped. He continued with what he was doing. I continued for a while,then paused to look at him. That was when I noticed the pile on the right side had reduced while the pile on the left side mounted up. I knew what he was doing all the while. We had discussed it before he started and he asked for some clarifications as he worked. All of a sudden, the eyes of my understanding was illuminated; I realised what I had come to take for granted.

My husband was paying bills. He was crunching numbers. He was making decisions on what has to be paid, what can be paid and what would have to wait another month. He has been doing this for years. We became a single-income family when I stopped working and earning regular income at the end of 2007 because my health went downhill. It was a big deal and a huge concern for me, not to be able to contribute towards our family income in a significant way. But I would compile the bills ready for discussion and decision since I was at home all day and the one who takes receipt of the bills. In the last year leading to the lungs transplantation and the amputation of my legs, I could not even do this, and my husband had to take over completely, sorting and attending to the bills. While we discuss major stuff and pray together for God to supply our needs. Somehow, God makes provision for the huge pile of bills that comes in every month to get paid and to sustain us. The salary was just not enough.

So while I was getting angry at my husband for not paying the kind of attention I wanted to me, after all it was just the two of us at home, he was paying intent attention to keep us financially afloat. And I almost missed the intense effort he puts in every month to get it done, despite his heavy workload and frequent travels.

When we discussed the incidence later, I realized that I also missed one of the good that God did for us this year. For the past several years, my medical bills ran into many multiple hundreds of thousands Swiss francs. But in 2015, we had paid only a minute fraction in medical bills compared with the previous years. A huge hole in our finances had been sealed.

I knew more than ever before that I needed to retrain my eyes to focus on the awesome goodness of God, which He daily pour out on us. I also knew that I needed to have my eyes sharpened and focussed to see and value the amazingness of my husband; not once in all these years had he ever complained about the huge burden my medical issues had posed to our lives and our finances.

To be continued in Part 2.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Anchor For The Storms

“The LORD redeems the soul of His servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” – Ps 34:22

It is so uplifting and such a blessing to know that we have a God Who will never leave any of His own children desolate in the midst of the storm or in the times of hardship or adversity. Desolate, in the sense that one feels abandoned and devoid of help, hope and comfort. He always steps in to rescue us.

My experience during the month of October proved this to me beyond imagination, and it also confirmed to me that God always prepares an anchor ready to hold us fast to Himself so that we are not swept away by the fury of the storms of life. He reveals these anchors as we dwell close to Him and in His presence.

Every year during my birth-month—October, I commit myself to doing something different to deepen fellowship with God and develop a more intimate relationship with Him. As September came to an end, I began to seek God’s face concerning my fellowship with Him in October. I wanted to know what new dimension He wanted to bring into my fellowship with Him. It was on the last day of the September that a verse in the Bible caught fire in my spirit. It was in 1Timothy 2:1. The God’s Word translation encouraged us to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people. The Message translation magnified the text urging us to pray in every way we know how, for everyone we know.

A light-bulb flicked on in my spirit—I knew what God wanted me to do throughout the month of October. And I set about doing so—to pray for everyone I know, past and present, in every way I know how to pray.

It was during the first week that I had the foreboding of a storm as I prayed for everyone I know. But in the process of praying for some specific persons, I felt in my heart that it was in the dimension of fighting spiritual warfare—battling the enemy for the souls of these loved one. I knew God had always provided an anchor for me to fasten my faith and hope during storms in the past. And He would surely do so again.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

God’s word is timeless. It is eternal. It stands firm no matter how fierce the storm may be. David declared that God’s Word and truth are dependable (Ps 119:89-93). “If Your revelation, law and instructions had not delighted and sustained me, I would have given up when hard times came or in my afflictions. This verse jumped at me as I studied my Bible on Monday 12th.

Sometimes, when storms come, they come with fury, intense fierceness and with high waves that threaten to capsize the boat, such as was recorded in Mark 4. I was elated and filled with joy when I read of how Jesus rebuked the storm and commanded it to be still, and how the storm immediately 
obeyed and became calm.

This word became a lifeline and a sure anchor for me a few hours later when the storm hit. It came in the form of excruciating pain in my lower back. I had my sista-friend, Bidemi visiting me with her husband. We had planned an outing for the day. I refused to allow the pain to cancel our plans. Every step was in pain. Each time the pain seared through my back, the word, “Peace, be still!” echoed in my spirit. So it continued throughout the day. That night, all I could do was cry out, “I rebuke you, storm of pain in the name of Jesus. At the name of Jesus, be still.” At past 2:00 am, the storm obeyed the word of God, and it became calm. And I dozed off to sleep. I could not but give praise to God when I woke up in the morning. I praised Him for giving me that word and bring it to my remembrance before the storm struck. It provided an anchor for me as I was tossed about by the strong stormy winds.

Two weeks later, just before the next storm came, I had a strong leading in my spirit to study about the victory that Jesus died to purchase for us on the cross at Calvary. As I learnt more about the victory that God gave us through our Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:57, I came to understand that God desires for both you and me to walk in complete and full victory in EVERY situation and every sphere of our lives. We truly have no excuse for not walking in full victory because God has removed every obstacle out of our way because it is His will for us to learn to know the full benefits provided for us in Christ. God always cause us to triumph in Christ Jesus.

I knew I had to add this dimension to praying for everyone that I know so that they may also learn to appropriate the full victory and the full benefits of the cross in every sphere of their lives. God teaches us the secrets of keeping His victory flowing in our heart as we walk close with Him. That was what I wanted for every member of my family and all my friends, and that was what I prayed for them.

When the storm came in the form of an unexplained generalized allergy that caused severe itching all over my body, I held fast to the word of truth that Jesus died to give me victory over the affliction. The pain and the irritation kept my body restless, but my heart rested on the word that anchored me firm with hope.

I refused to give up praying for everyone I know in every way I know. I stood on the premise that Jesus came to set the lawful captives free and to deliver the prey of the mighty. I refused to be distracted by the harassment of the enemy knowing fully well that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. And in all these things, WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS.

God restored me to full health and strength again. Indeed, He restored me to even greater honour, and He comforted me. The trials and afflictions of my soul helped me to develop endurance and strength of character. October has been a victorious month. It has set the tone for the next eleven months of my life. I will walk in victory in every sphere of my life until I arrive at October 2016.

May your souls find rest in Jesus as you remained anchored by His word of in every storm of your lives. May God’s word sustain you with joy and quicken so that you are enabled to stand strong and overcome the storms.