Thursday, 12 December 2013

Week 34-36-Not Right Now Lord, I Need A Moment...

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. So much has been going on. I have been feeling so weary. Been feeling like giving up-literally. I stopped journaling my experiences, stopped seeking God and stopped taking the time to evaluate myself and ask God what He’s been trying to teach me during this difficult and painful season in my life. I’ve been in a really dark place.

I mean yes I have a relationship with God. Yes I believe in Jesus and yes I believe in the Word of God yet I still feel like crawling under the covers and praying that the storms in my life go away. I’m just so sick and tired of going through the motions. I can’t even begin to imagine or comprehend how someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God must be feeling.

From Kidulthood To Adulthood…

I have been discovering so much about myself. Like I’ve been learning how strong or should I say how weak I really am.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of blockages and obstacles lately, which have in fact tested my character as well as my expectations. Things are turning out quite different to how I had planned. I wasn’t expecting things to be rosy but like hmm I guess I was expecting things to be a walk in the park in some respect. How naïve of me aye?! Like I was thinking I could get from a to b without any disruptions. I was living in cloud 9 lol. I failed to take into account possible detours, delays and traffic along the way to my destination. I see that life is indeed a roller coaster and if I want something I must get up, go out there and fight for it. Nothing worth having just falls on your lap hence why James said faith without works is dead yo!

When I think about the past 3 months alone, I have indeed been through the motions. Firstly there were issues with my visa. Then I had a heart problem. Oh yes so the doctor found an abnormality in my heart and I felt like I was slowwwwwwwwwwwing down literally. I’m feeling much better now and they were able to get to the root of the problem. What I find intriguing however is that even though there was a physical problem with my heart, I also believe that a spiritual problem contributed to my heart condition. There were some things that I needed to deal with-bitterness, unforgiveness, worry-and this was all taking a toll on my heart.  So back to what I was saying, after the heart issue was all sorted it’s literally just been attack after attack, issue after issue, and surprise after surprise. I feel like every area of my life has got issues. Last Friday felt like the final straw for me. I had suicidal thoughts. Yes I Miss Josie Agyeman had suicidal thoughts. I was feeling so so so low. Life just hasn’t been going the way I had anticipated it would. I’m not going to have a pity party no point. It doesn’t change anything-just makes you focus on self rather than on God.

I’ve been winging crying out to God like a 3 years old baby saying “but I’m so young, I'm only 22 and all these things are happening to me”. THIS IS LIFE. This. Is. Life. God doesn’t say that every 10 year old will experience X at this age and then when they’re 20 they will experience Y. No no no I’m coming to realize more and more that God is sovereign and does things HIS WAY. He has different plans for each and every one of us. We have our own path to venture on.

I'm getting older and coming to realize that I'm no longer a child. You may say Josie of course you’re not a child, you’re 22 for goodness sake, but in my head, I'm going through the process of change and coming to terms with the fact that growing older=taking responsibility for your own life because no one else is going to do it for you.  There’s no point resisting the will of God and trying to do a Jonah. I tried to do it and I ended up on my knees repenting and surrendering my will to God. 

Remember Who The Real Enemy Is

I got to a place where I stopped reading my Bible and stopped praying. I became so weary and tired of life. I found it too painful to even think about God. I kept hearing the scripture “He will never give you more than you can handle”, yet I stopped trusting God and couldn’t see how all of this could possibly work out for my good. At the end of Hunger Games 2 Haymitch said to Katnis “remember who the real enemy is”. I failed to see that God was never against me. The real enemy was satan. I was turning against God when the real enemy, satan was jumping up and down having a party.

What humbles me is that in spite of the way I have been feeling, in spite of the fact that I have turned away from God and been faithless, He has remained faithful. I have been questioning God’s will for my life and apart of me has also been resisting it too. Yet in spite of this there are people in my life who have not left me. They have continued to pray for me. I’ll put my hands up and admit that I haven’t been the best person to be around lately. I would talk to friends and they would encourage me and I would be like “I don’t wanna hear it”. I was tired of hearing my friends talk about God and how He has such great plans in store for me because what I was experiencing was quite the opposite. I questioned how things could possibly work out for my good.

I Need More Wisdom!

Speaking of friends, these past couple of weeks have opened my eyes to the fact that when it comes to friendships/relationships only a few can be trusted. Having said that I put my hands up and admit that I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. I was too naïve and trusted people too quickly. I failed to discern and realize that not everyone has your best interest at heart-even within the Christian community. I have been too open too quickly with those around me. I’m learning the difference between being transparent with someone and being too open.

Guard your heart Josie guard your heart! I have heard this scripture so many times yet I’m coming to a place where I have a deeper understanding of what it means. I must be more discerning. I must pay more attention and listen to the Holy Spirit. I must be Spirit led. As a missionary and counselor, these past experiences have shown me that people deal with pain in different ways. Some have learnt unhealthy ways to cope with their problems and insecurities. Some deal with it in destructive ways and will harm themselves as well as others. Some have their own issues but because they haven’t dealt with it, they wound others and this could be through stabbing you in the back or even keeping you close because they see you as a threat. I have also learnt that some people will hate and persecute you because a need of their own is not being met, so they will take their frustrations out on you.  I’m learning to focus on the issue and not the person. The person is not the enemy.

The Show Must Go On

Life life life. I realise that the only thing I have to hold onto is the word of God. That’s the only thing that I can truly stand on in troubled times. The word of God is the only anchor we really have. Psalm 18:30 says that God’s way is perfect and that all of His promises prove true. God’s way is perfect.  The word perfect means without fault, flawless, marvellous and excellent. This means that God knows exactly what He is doing. He is wise beyond comprehension; He is all seeing and all knowing. Isaiah 55:8-9 declares that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We can’t comprehend or try and work out what God doing, all we can do is TRUST HIM. Trust Him and believe that He knows what’s best for us, after all His intentions are never to harm us. That’s what the Christian walk is all about; trusting God even when we don’t understand why things are turning out the way they are and believing that He will cause all things to work out for our good because He loves us!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Week 33-Growth Can Only Come Through Change...

Last Saturday I was speaking with a friend from London that I hadn’t spoken to in months. We had a good catch up session and she mentioned how much I used to hate change. This got me thinking about how rigid and unyielding I used to be. Things had to be done a certain way and if they didn’t go according to the plans I made I would get so frustrated. Proverbs 16:9 “in their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”. Because I was so resistant to change it meant that I couldn’t move forward because I was actually resisting God’s way and will for my life. As much as I confessed with my mouth “God let Your will be done” my actions were doing what I wanted and that was so wrong-I hadn’t truly surrendered my life to Him!

God desires growth BUT growth can only come about through change. We can’t expect to grow by doing the thing. One of the reasons why I didn’t like change was fear. Truth is most times I would only step out and do something if I could predict what the outcome would be or because it wasn’t too difficult; I could do it by myself. So basically I was placing my trust in myself and not in God. I believe that if we want to live an average and mediocre life then we don’t need God, because we can achieve that by ourselves. But if we want to live an extraordinary life, a life that is exceedingly and abundantly above and beyond what we could ever think or ask then we need God full stop.

"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security"
Gail Sheehy

So back to what I was saying, I always used to have this fear about stepping out into the unknown and that was because I was not in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Since I wasn’t taking the time to hear God’s voice, my life had no direction and I found it hard to know whether I was making the right choices and decisions. The word of God says in Isaiah 30:21 “your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, Walk in it”. In order for us to hear the God’s voice, we must take the time to open our ears and listen (See post on Hearing God’s Voice –May 2013).

Before I FINALLY made the decision to take the leap of faith and come to Fiji I asked God to speak to me and confirm that I should leave England. And God being true to His word answered me. I remember one the ways God confirmed it to me was through Genesis 12:1 when God told Abraham the first missionary to “go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you”. BUT I still didn’t act upon it because of fear and lack of faith.  I turned a blind eye.

It was in January 2012 that I started enquiring about doing missions work. I graduated from University in July (I could have gone in July but knew that that was not the time, because I had to prepare). I sent off the application form in September that same year and only decided that I was actually going in February 2013 and left March 2013 and the Discipleship Training course commenced in April.  What does that tell me about myself? I failed to trust God and His plans. It was a big step but one I knew I had to take because deep down I always knew that if I didn’t leave in March then I would have missed out on something greater, a great opportunity, I would have failed to fulfill my purpose and calling some how. I knew that I would regret it for the rest of my life. What is God calling you to do and what is stopping you from stepping out? Believe me when I say that when you obey God, you will NOT regret it. His ways and thoughts are higher and better than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

If there is something I’ve learnt over the past couple of months it is to go for it! If God gives you the green light then go! Why wait, in fact the question I should be asking is what are you waiting for? Do you want to die living a unfulfilled life that lacks purpose? Explore, be daring and step out of your comfort zone into the unknown, something greater awaits you :)

Week 32-Open My Eyes Lord That I May See...

Ello, Ello , Ello :) 

How are you all doing? I hope you’re having a lovely week so far. Here in Fiji it's summer time and it’s getting really HOT! I can’t cope lol. Last week was such an eventful week filled with work, fellowship, movies (finally had the time to go and watch Thor) as well as chilling by the pool side.  

Josie, watch your mouth!

God has been dealing with me in the area of my tongue. The season I’m in has been teaching me a lot about how corrupt and defile my tongue can be. Ephesians 4:29 says “let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers”. Only good words that encourage and build others up should be coming out of our mouths. If we’re going to discuss something/one it should be to build up the person or because we’re trying to find a solution to the problem. If we have an issue with someone, it’s better we take it to God rather than to man.

I’m coming to realize more and more that I can’t be effective if I’m using the same tongue to curse others and bless God (James 3:10). Jesus our great example did not act in such a manner. Others around us may be tearing people down through their words but that doesn’t mean that we should fall into that same trap and think it’s ok because it’s not. Our standard must be Christ and not man or culture hence why the Bible says looking onto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We must continue to be diligent and check whether we have conformed to the patterns and nature of this world.

Nothing can EVER compare to the love of God!

This week Isaiah 45:5 really convicted me and gave me a deeper revelation of God’s unconditional love. It says “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, through you have not acknowledged Me” NIV. The word acknowledge means; to notice, recognize one’s importance, respect, appreciate.  Here I interpreted the scripture as God saying “Josie, despite the fact that you fail to spend time with Me, read My word, worship other gods and fail to give Me the glory that I am so worthy of I WILL help and deliver you to show you that I AM GOD. I am faithful; I have an unwavering commitment to you even when you are disloyal because I am true to My word.  Human beings change their mind just as the weather changes but I do not because I am love, I bear all things, I never stop being patient with you!”

The revelation I got brought me to my knees and reminded me of the story of Hosea and his backsliding wife, which actually symbolizes God’s relationship with us. God is always loyal, it’s us who become adulterous and turn our backs on Him. Nothing else matters more to God than our relationship with Him and He will do whatever it takes to get our attention and have our heart. Where’s your heart at the moment? Is it in the palm of God’s hands?

Cherish Your Family

Last week I shared with you all that I was living with a Rutoman family and well through this experience I’ve been learning so much about the importance of family. During Bible study, I stumbled across Psalm 68:6, which says, “God sets the lonely in families”. This is me!!! I was feeling so homesick; missing my family and friends and without me even realizing it, God was ordering my steps and placed me in a family. I cried out to Him and He heard me.

Staying with this lovely family has opened my eyes to a few things too. Like I took my own family for granted. Our families are a blessing, a gift from God.  For example back in England I would stay cooped up in my room rarely socializing with the rest of my family. I got so caught up with the things of this world that I failed to realize the importance of ‘family time’ and enjoying their company. God did not create us to live with our family’s yet live very separate lives failing to communicate and socialize with them! Hebrews 10:24-25 declares that we must consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. We must not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but we must encourage one another –and all the more as the time of Jesus' return is near.  

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Week 31-I'm Waging War!

This week has been a busy and tiring week. On Wednesday I was invited to attend a public forum at the University of the South Pacific. The topic was about the health needs of marginalised people and justice in Fiji. The marginalised people include- the beggars, sex workers, prisoners and single mothers. I found it so insightful and eye opening as the purpose of the forum was not to point fingers and find someone to blame but about finding solutions and interventions to improve the lives of marginalised people in the community.

New Week, New Me

I have been feeling like a new woman this week lol. I’ve been feeling so empowered because God has been releasing the strongholds and shackles off my feet. I mentioned that last week I was dealing with the spirit of depression and mastering my emotions, and well this week I’ve been finding new ways to guard my heart. For example I have been downloading sermons on self-control and guarding your heart and would listen to it whilst walking to work or play it aloud whilst I'm at home. Whenever the spirit creeps up on me and tries to attack me I replay it and start quoting scriptures and bind the enemy.

No Weapons Formed Against Me Shall Prosper

Lately I have been feeling like forces have been working against me-BUT I am confident that the Lord will rescue me from evil attack!!! I see that satan will use whomever he wants to in order to stop the plans of God from prevailing. The scripture declares that we fight not against flesh and blood but against principalities in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). People, it’s so important we have a discerning spirit so we are able to detect, expose and bind the plans of the enemy. We must be on our guard, standing firm in the faith, courageous and strong my brothers and sister (1 Corinthians 16:13).

I'm actually sick and tired of satan stealing what rightfully belongs to me, this week I had to wage war and take back what he had stolen from me. What's satan been stealing from you lately? Has he been causing divisions? Stealing your peace or joy? It's time to take it back, it's time to send satan packing, enough is enough!!!

My Rutoman Family!

At the moment I’m staying with such a lovely Rutoman family. God is sooo amazing, He knows how much I miss home and He has blessed me with a loving and generous family here in Fiji who have opened up their home to me and made me feel as though I'm apart of their family. I made dinner for them just the other day and through me looking after the children and cooking and cleaning I see that God is using these situations to improve my home making skills lol. 

Be Thankful & Bless His Name

I’m thankful for seasons like this because they are making me more independent and wiser  than ever before. I thank Yahweh for bringing me this far; I have overcome so many mountains and valleys all because of Him. Speaking of being thankful, this is an area that God has been dealing with in my life this week. Psalm 100:4 says “be thankful to Him and bless His name. The word bless means; to give thanks, exalt, worship, praise.  Gratitude is having a thankful spirit. Gratitude begins by acknowledging who God is and what He has done. Ingratitude, on the other hand, begins with a heart that refuses to be satisfied, that rejects the Giver as well as His gift (Romans 1:21). Sometimes I get so caught up in my adversity that I fail to thank Him for the little yet significant things like deodorant, a bed to lay my head and even shoes without holes to wear to work.

This walk is a journey and I’m learning to be more gracious with myself. I’m someone who likes things done to a high standard and this can also cause me to be hard on myself when I fail to do what is right and slip up. At the end of the day no one is perfect, we are all a working progress and transformation is gradual, it’s a process. 

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Selah :)

Miss Josie Jo