Tag Archives: hope

The 2016 Rise From The Dead


Hi there! Hola! Bonjour!

Long time no post.” I hear you say

Yes, five months to be precise:/

….

Ah I see you want an explanation

*Very very awkward silence*

I want to tell you there’s a large pile of reasons why we haven’t written since May but to be totally frank all I can say is that life got in the way and blogging became more and more of a memory. I got married in June and Joy put on a pretty amazing play in September- just so you know we aren’t complete bums, but hand on heart, when you’re having such a good time on the holiday you’ve given yourself it’s easy to drown out the voice telling you it really is time to get back to life.

For any of you reading who are writers you will know what it’s like to lose momentum, for writers block to set in, and before you know it you’re questioning whether you’re actually that good of a writer and telling yourself that you have nothing to say worth reading.

As I head back to my keyboard for the first time in a long while, trying to get myself re-acquainted with this writing lark, I am surprised by the overwhelming feeling of relief. All this time spent scared and guilty, you know that anxious feeling that rests in the pit of your stomach, and this is the first day of breathing easily. I’m thinking back to Jonah in the Bible and how he must have felt when he finally got spewed out of the whale. Prior to whale entry doing what God had told him to do and preaching to the people of Nineva seemed like the scariest thing he could have done. However, post whale Jonah realised that what’s really scary is not knowing if you’re going to be digested (lol) and the guilt that comes with knowing you should be obeying God.

Whilst in my self created whale I’ve been feeling fearful because besides the writers block and the ‘not having time to write’ I couldn’t override the re-occurring thought that in my silence I was disobeying God. Two years ago when he told me to write and I told him it didn’t make sense because I’m not a writer and I’m not consistent and I’d have nothing to say, but still ended up obeying anyway, I didn’t really have a leg to stand on with deciding not to obey now.

This summer was an uncomfortable one consisting of soul searching and dissatisfaction. I felt like work wasn’t giving me what I needed so I scrolled through job sites to find the perfect job, but as I scrolled I couldn’t shake the feeling that the emptiness would not be solved by a new 9-5 (or in my case 8:30-6…I know…ouch.) I started to think if it wasn’t a new job maybe it was a new hobby I needed, so much so I, for one whole second considered getting back into acting. As a last resort, I even turned to fitness in the hope of a purpose, with the idea that I could make getting fit my raison dêtre and lose the stone I gained on honeymoon (yes a whole stone, yes it is physically possible to gain that much weight in two weeks.) But if you know me and you know how much I like food then you know fitness was never going to cut it as the focus of my life.

So what did I do…

I remembered there was something God had already told me to do that I had dismissed doing in the hope of finding a shiny new purpose to pre-occupy myself. And here I am, imploring you to not make the same mistakes.

Do you feel like you’re stuck on a rut?

Are you sure there’s more to life but not sure where to find it?

Have you forgotten why you set out on the journey you’re on?

When things get complicated I always think back to a happier time and grapple with why exactly that time is different to my present. I absolutely always feel better when I’m doing what God has told me to. Not really surprising right? And yet so many of us are running in the complete opposite directions to Gods voice and then are questioning what’s brought the cloud of doom and gloom over our lives.

Truths we have to face:

God will not give you a new destiny because you don’t like the one you have

Your God given destiny will not necessarily make you rich and/or popular

You will never be able to complete your destiny without God. You will need him every step of the way. 

If you, like me, are tired of the rut and ready to accept that going it alone is not as empowering as you thought it was going to be, the only way forward is Christ, and he is patiently waiting for you to say ‘yes Lord”

Cannot tell you how much I’ve missed you.

Love Lots

Dani 
 

What To Do When Your World Comes Crashing Down

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Have you ever been through a time in your life where you just felt like everything was crashing down? That time is especially difficult as a Christian because you can’t help but question God and ask Him what exactly he’s trying to do to you. Throughout the Bible although we see bad things happening to good people, we also see God equipping His people so that they can fight another day.

Pressed but not crushed
Cans cannot withstand the pressure exerted upon them during the recycling process; they’re inevitably crushed. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re a can (you didn’t close your eyes, right? Neither did I lol). Life will try to crush you, it will try to take away your childhood dreams, to mock your hope and to make you settle for mediocrity. It’s your job to withstand the pressure. Don’t be like the can which is inevitably crushed because of the pressure being exerted upon it. Though our bodies may become weak, our minds and spirits are far more powerful than we think. Have you ever gotten through a tough season in your life, looked back a year later and thought ‘how did I get through that?!’ We don’t know how strong we are until are pressed on every side. During that season we feel like we are dying a slow and painful death, but every time we get into bed and sleep, we don’t realise that we have survived a day we didn’t think we could face.

Perplexed but not driven to despair
We experience perplexity. I mean, yesterday, you were chilling; your greatest worry was what you were going to wear to the clurrrrb on Saturday night (if you’re still into that). 12 hours later, you get an essay mark which completely breaks your average and makes the attainment of a 2:1 impossible. What do you do?

Worry

Think about the jobs you’ll never get

Cry

Scream

Give up

Things are going to happen that completely throw us off course and cause us to be perplexed but that does not mean we have to be driven to despair.

Hunted down but never abandoned
The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) Those are his aims. Since you’ve joined #TeamMostHigh #TeamJesus, #TeamSaved and #TeamSovereign, you are now on the opposing team. You are going to be hunted down; problems you thought you would never encounter are gonna spring out of nowhere and you are going to have to face them. But you are never, ever, ever alone. God will never abandon you. Yeah, the devil will try to isolate you; he will make you feel that no one cares about you or understands what you are going through but those are all lies. God cares for you. He doesn’t take days off. He’s always there and he loves you very much.

Knocked down but not destroyed
Sometimes the devil might be successful and you may get knocked down, you may fall, you may sin, you may do the thing you swore you’d never do again.

Guess what?

Your worst moment does not have the power to define you. Get up. The longer you lie on there on the floor, thinking about what a horrible person you are, the weaker and more vulnerable you become. So get up. Run with God, let him renew you and fill you up again so that you can withstand the battles that lie ahead.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Yours,

JOY x

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

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There’s a thin line between a performance to yourself and one to an audience, even an audience of one. It’s weird because so much is the same; it’s you, doing what you do best( or at least pretty well) but the first is like a self assessment and the latter invokes enough fear to cause your fingers to cramp and your heart to beat rampantly in your chest. What changes things? In that moment after you’ve performed your heart out, when there’s an audience we either let out a sigh of relief or release one of disappointment depending on whether our performance is followed by applause or the lack of it. How good we feel is decided in a matter of moments as people shower us in praise or choose to avoid eye-contact.

Lesson of last week: In life we live for the applause, the glory that comes from our personal achievements but as Christians the purpose of our lives is to glorify Jesus. Everything that happens to us from birth to when we bow out is for God to receive heartiest claps and the loudest shouts of praise.

My all time bible hero is Job. Job had faith. Not the kind of faith that is here today and gone tomorrow when the going gets tough but the kind of unwavering faith that has chosen to serve God no matter what, whether there’s joy in his heart or pain, whether he’s at a loss or period of gain. Job had faith.

If you don’t know about Job I’ll set the scene. Imagine your rich. Not ghetto fabulous rich that culminates in having a Louis Vuitton belt and an enviable shoe collection. The type that sees your children study at the most expensive schools in the country and pays for your ten bedroom house and puts the petrol in your recently shined lambo, and even sees all of your extended family with food on their tables and money in their bank accounts. Job was that kind of rich, and to top it off, he loved God. He knew where his wealth came from and served God with all his heart. However, his story soon changed when the devil started teasing God.

Here Job is, chilling in his richness and acknowledging his father in heaven that he’s dependent on, while Satan is roaming giving him major side eye and looking for a way to disgrace God. So Satan says ‘Listen God, you may think Job loves you, but I guarantee he’s just like any gold-digging human out there. As soon as you restrict his access to his cash, take away that family he loves so dearly, leave him in a place of desolation and grief, he isn’t still going to holla like he does‘ what God says in response shocked me forever and changed my perspective on life. God says ‘Oh you think so, ok take ALL those things away from Job and see if he doesn’t praise me all the same.’

So that was it. While one messenger was being the bearer of bad news and telling Job that he’d lost his riches another was arriving to say he’s lost his children, until heartache by heartache, Job lost it all. His money his loved ones, everything he’d ever worked hard for in this life and not only that God had commissioned it.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. Job 1:21-22

We claim to live to give God praise but so many serve him in the hope that they’ll get enough things from God so that others will give them praise. Christianity is turned into a motivational too that is all about moving up in the world, but numbers of people lifting their hands depletes when worlds come crashing down. Last week was one of those weeks for me. I could see the world around me slowly crumbling and I had to decide if I was still going to seek God amongst the rubble. My logic was: You knew this would happen God, you gave me no warning and you didn’t save me, so why should I get down on my knees to praise you? My heart hurt and I didn’t feel like God was all too fussed. Just when I was about to have a sulk, my mind wandered to Job. Job wasn’t just attacked by the devil, his attack was commissioned by God, and when he rubbed his eyes in the midst of his own rubble, he didn’t see a God who had betrayed him, but a God whom he owed his life to.

So many of us lift our hands and claim that we’d serve God no matter what but are you ready for Satan to call your bluff and for God to agree. God was so confident in Job because God saw his heart, would God have the same faith in you being able to see yours? Are you in the faith while it’s rosy but ready to switch religion or give God the silent treatment as soon as things don’t go your way.

There’s a Newsflash that we can’t afford to miss: we live to bring God glory. If we also get a hand clap or some appreciation along the way then that is a bonus but it is not a requirement. Christ sacrificed his entire life for our sins but the moment we have to sacrifice our friends or our jobs or our families for him, it all becomes too much and we consider turning back on the road to him. But why? Glory belongs to God and we live as part of his masterpiece.

 

Let God’s will be done always, and glory be to him forevermore. Amen

 

Love Dani xxxx

 

 

Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser

When the world has fallen out from under me
I’ll be found in you, still standing
Every fear and accusation under my feet
when time and space are through
I’ll be found in You

As I listened to this song yesterday, I began to cry. Life isn’t a bed of roses and it is prone to presenting situations that have the power to bring us to our knees. This song reminded me that with Christ I can, and will stand again.


I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

What To Do When You’re Falling Apart

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At the moment, I’m getting into the Old Testament (OT) – the part of the Bible most young Christians tend to avoid – not because we don’t want to read it, of course, but because it just feels a bit intense and at times, confusing. The New Testament (NT) feels a lot easier to get through, right? It can at times feel like an action movie with the star of the film being our main man Jesus Christ who just keeps doing and saying amazing things.

 Boom! Born in a manger

Boom! Doing Miracles

Boom! Dying on a cross

BOOM! RISING FROM THE DEAD

Such a page turner, right? And of course, once you become a Christian, you’re given the little red NT Bible so most of us just sit with the last 27 books and neglect all the other books. After years of being content with the NT alone, I decided to begin right at the beginning of the Bible. I have just finished reading Joshua and let’s just say it’s been quite the journey.

God delivered  the Israelites out of the Egypt but instead of allowing them to enter the Promise Land instantaneously, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their disobedience and distrust. The Israelites had no real idea where they were going; there had been ups and downs, disappointments and frustrations. The very thing they hoped would come to pass had been severely delayed.

Eventually, the Israelites reached the land God promised them and in Joshua 22, Joshua their new leader, gave some of the tribes some sound advice:

But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold fast to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

Joshua 22:5

On the day I read this, I was having trouble holding onto God because I had so many other things in my hands. It had been a whirlwind week, full of moments where things had failed to come together in the way I hoped they would. I wanted to throw myself into my emotions and hibernate under my quilt. Thankfully, this scripture caught me as I was falling apart and caused me to question my response to what most would consider one of the usual setbacks of life.

When we are falling apart that is when we should hold tighter onto God – we shouldn’t let him go because of our emotions.

When everything is going wrong – fall apart hold fast

When things aren’t going your way – fall apart hold fast

When you’re not sure what to do next – fall apart hold fast

When you put all your hope into something and it doesn’t come together –fall apart hold fast

Hold fast to God, He is all we have.

Joy xx

How Lil Wayne Taught Me To Love

253  I didn’t intend to write this post today.

It’s 22:49 on Thursday 17th July and this has to be posted by 10:00 tomorrow morning. I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t have the answer to the question I have been asking myself (and God) over the past few weeks: How Should I Love?

 You had a lot of crooks tryna steal your heart

Never really had luck, couldn’t ever figure out

How to love

How to love

-Lil Wayne

I never thought I’d be writing about Lil Wayne’s ‘How To Love‘,  (this is my least favourite song of his). It came to mind a few weeks ago and I realised how much I identified with the song – no, not the broken-hearted stuff, I’m talking about the not really knowing how to love part. You see, the way I love is so intense that I have had to learn how to moderate my love depending on the recipient. Few people can handle the intensity of my love and even fewer people can live up to the standards I set for those I love which inevitably creates a huge gulf between what I expect from people and what they can actually give me. I honestly thank God that He is teaching me the importance of having low expectations of people and high expectations of Him. Slowly but surely, He is becoming the first person I run to when I feel like a storm is brewing; He is my shelter from the rain.

You had a lot of moments that didn’t last forever

Now you’re in a corner tryna put it together

How to love

How to love

– Lil Wayne

I wonder why we think our todays will last forever when we can barely remember our yesterdays. The world around us is ever-changing and yet we somehow think that the relationship we share with another will transcend time. I blame Disney. I blame fairy tales. I blame the innate desire we all have to belong to someone, to be wanted and to be needed.

The woman in this song doesn’t know how to love properly. Life, unfortunately, has been unkind to her and she is sitting in the corner trying to figure out how to put the pieces of her broken heart back together, wondering how they even fit together in the first place. As I’ve said numerous times, heartache can come from many different people and in many different forms. For too long, we have been sold the narrative that heartbreak only comes when your one, true love walks out on you. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth for some of us; we’ve experienced heartbreak through broken friendships, broken families, Dads walking out , people we looked up to failing us – the list really does go on.

 Now you’re sitting here in this damn corner

Looking through all your thoughts and looking over your shoulders

-Lil Wayne

The thing is, our hearts do come back together again after they’ve been broken but we no longer view humanity in the innocent light we once did. We realise that people have the capacity to break us when we entrust them with our hearts, and we therefore shield ourselves from anyone who has the potential to hurt us. Although we try and form new relationships, a significant proportion of our time is spent overthinking and looking at the past to assess the parallels between what has gone before and the new relationship. This affects the how we love people. We love people… but not really. We share with people…but only the insignificant information that we don’t mind them walking away with.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been challenging myself to love people properly again. It took a friend to really show me that I was letting my fear of being hurt impact the way I interacted with people. As I mentally replayed the conversation we had (as I do with all important conversations) I remembered that we aren’t called to live small lives (I think I say this in every post) and therefore we must confront anything that seeks to weigh us down and make us fearful simply because if we are truly in Christ then we are meant to live freely.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

I know this is the part of the post where I’m supposed to list my tips but I just wanted to remind you that I’ve been putting off writing this post because I don’t have the answers – I am still figuring out how to love. Here’s what I have so far:

1) Stop Being Afraid

Loving people is really important to God because God is love. After commanding us to love Him, he commands us to love others. We can spend the remainder of our lives punishing the new people in our lives for the wrongs committed by the oldies or we can choose to set our fears aside and love without fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

2) There’s No Wound He Cannot Heal

I was afraid to love because I was afraid to be hurt again. I had to remember that God is the mender of broken hearts and specialises in pulling me back together again. That doesn’t mean I should throw myself into relationships but it doesn’t mean I should fear them either. Every time I tell God that I am afraid to love, he reminds me that I can never be broken in the way I once was because I no longer live my life without him, I live my life for him. Even if I am hurt again, this time, I have someone I can run to.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Psalm 18:2

3) Your Heart Is Precious

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23

Set boundaries, be vigilant, be careful. Your heart determines who you become and where you will end up so ask God to help you protect it from those who seek to break it. Be mindful of those you invest your time in and whom you give yourself to.


This is all I have at the moment. I honestly wish I had more for you! Feel free to comment and add any lessons you’ve picked up along the way, I’d love some help on this journey.

Loving you in the only way I know how,

Joy xx

My Dad Was A Pastor…I Was An Atheist

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My Dad was ordained as a Pastor the year I was born so my earliest memories are of him preaching to hundreds of people about the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. I have grown up watching him teach, preach and do his best to share the love of Jesus with everyone he comes into contact with. I could honestly write this whole post about how great my Dad is because he is my hero; he was the first person who showed me what Jesus could potentially look like and through his love and instantaneous forgiveness no matter what I did (and I’ve done some pretty bad things) I grew up having a firm understanding of the love of Jesus Christ.  Love you Dad! (He doesn’t read my blog so won’t even see this mushy introduction – awkward.)

Despite his consistency, relentless pursuit of God and being a model Christian, my questions regarding our faith in God began around the age of 13. “Daddy, how do you know Jesus is real?” “Daddy, are you sure?” were questions I would ask him regularly. I was in church every week and I was half listening to the preaching and although at times it made sense, there was one underlying obstacle that I kept encountering: How do we know that this is real? How do we know that God even exists? This could all be a lie! I would look around my church while everyone else was worshipping and often feel isolated and lost because everyone was ‘in the spirit’ but me. If I kept missing this spirit, how could it really exist?

My questions continued to grow and the fear that I was believing a really amazing fairytale became greater than my faith. I asked those around me what their thoughts were on Jesus and I got unhelpful and opaque answers:

Me: how do you know Jesus is real?

Friend: He just is!

Me: I’m sorry, what? How does that help me?

Friend: You just have to believe

Me: SORRY, CAN’T YOU HEAR ME? THAT IS THE PART I’M HAVING TROUBLE WITH

My heart grew cold, I switched off during the service and my life stopped reflecting the Christ that I once believed to be true. It was as though this belief in Christ was a club that I just couldn’t join. I wanted so desperately to believe but I couldn’t believe in something I couldn’t see so I simply stopped believing all together.

I don’t know when exactly my belief in God returned. I didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly have all the answers I had searched for during my teenage years. All I remember having were pockets of faith here and there, prayers now and again and life shaking events that brought me to my knees and caused me to run back my default setting – belief in a higher power. There was a need to believe that my pain would one day make sense and that it could not last forever; that need kept me searching. Although I actively sought all the answers to the questions I once had, one day I had to accept that I would never obtain the answers that I longed for.

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them,“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Mark 10:15

Children aren’t cynical, they ask questions to gain knowledge and to increase their understanding, not to disprove your argument. This scripture says that we have to become like them. Children ask questions but more easily accept the response; there is no pride, just innocence and a willingness to trust that what is being said is true. When they are told that the answer may be beyond them or the answer is yet to be discovered, they accept that too. I had placed my own limitations on God – he couldn’t do the things the Bible said he had done simply because I couldn’t imagine them happening and because I could not conceive them in my own mind, they simply couldn’t be true. But to be honest there are many things I cannot imagine that happen all around the world every single day and my disbelief or ignorance doesn’t make these occurrences any less real.

The honest answer to the question “how do you know that God exists?” is that I will never truly know. I will never be 100% sure that God exists because I have never met him face-to-face in the way that I’ve met other humans. I have, however, had very real, life-changing encounters with him and I can only point you to the broken person I used to be and show you who I have become in the hope that you will see and believe in him also. People from my past don’t recognise who I am now and at times, I don’t either. I am different because of him.

To the Christian having trouble explaining to people why you believe in a God that you cannot see but can only feel, I implore you to connect people with your experiences with God, not just your faith in him. Sometimes as Christians we want to show people the finished product but we don’t want them to see  the wounds that lie underneath our clothes which speak of the battles we had to face in order to become the person the world now sees. Our scars are important and our stories make our faith make sense to someone who simply cannot fathom the depths of our belief. My story speaks of car crashes, heartbreak and hours in A&E wondering if I was going to live or die -and that’s only the last four years! You may not believe that your story is dramatic or glamorous enough, and it may not be the rags-to-riches story-stand-up-on-the pulpit-and-everyone-cries-because-you’re-such-an-overcomer type of story but it is yours. Your story is the reason you have faith so be brave enough to share it and be strong enough to keep believing despite the questions you may still have. We will always have questions but the beauty of God is that he can handle them.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xxxxx

That Time I Was Recruited Into The Sex Industry

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I wish the title of this article were merely a ploy to get you to click the link and read our precious blog. Alas, it isn’t. I, Joy Johnson (that’s not really my surname) was approached and recruited into the sex industry.

My fear of strangers is a very recent phobia that can be dated back to 2013. I started watching a show called the Following, a show that follows masses of people who kill, well, for no reason at all. They walk up to passers-by, people in cafés, in homes, in CHURCHES and stab them through the chest with absolutely no remorse. As I watched this show, I realised that I wasn’t safe and I began to question my innate trust of human beings. How did I know who was a killer and who wasn’t? What stopped you, yes YOU, from stabbing me through the heart on any given day? Absolutely nothing.

My trust in humans was restored in March when I lost my ipad and a woman who I had never met stayed with me, reassured me, sought help on my behalf and hugged me when I found it. I realised that not all strangers were evil serial killers and perhaps Hebrews 13:2 could be something to live by:

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Since then I begun to open my heart to strangers but this newly found trust was almost ruined last Wednesday. I was sitting down, waiting for a friend when a man walked past me. He paused and then turned around to speak to me. I was literally thinking ew, rolls eyes but then I remembered my new mantra:

LOVING JESUS MEANS LOVING PEOPLE.

He said I was beautiful. I thanked him and looked away because compliments are pretty awkward things to receive from anyone, particularly strangers. He then asked me where I was from and I responded that I was from Nigeria and he looked shocked; he had just flown in from Nigeria THAT morning. He asked if he could sit down and of course, I obliged. He introduced himself as Michael; he owned various hotels in Lagos which meant he travelled there quite frequently. This knowledge made me happy to engage with him. Does that make me a goldigger? Let me be clear – he wasn’t hot, he was older than me (by about 40 years), I was just genuinely interested in this Caucasian man who was doing the most, talking about palm oil this and  plantain that. I was impressed. He said he also owned businesses in LDN and although today was his birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL, I said), he was on his way to a meeting.

Sidebar: I know I am giving you a lot of details here but I want you to know that although I am naïve, his story was (kinda) plausible at the time. I didn’t just get up and follow a stranger. Well, I did actually.

The famous Michael (apparently that was his nickname) asked if I was available to join him for coffee. I was once again obliged; it was his birthday after all and my friend was nowhere to be seen. He told me he was turning 42 and small alarm bells started ringing (I know, I know, why did they take so long to go off?) because he looked just a few days older than 62. We went into the McDs across the road, we sat down and he asked what I did. I told him I was looking for a new job; his eyes lit up and he began to explain what his employees did. ‘His’ women gave massages and facials to supermodels in order to firm up their bodies (particularly their breasts), in preparation for any upcoming photo shoots.

Yikes. Ok. Another alarm bell. I didn’t ever want to touch anyone else’s breasts but my own.

But still I engaged with the famous Michael. He told me to take his number and as I was taking it, his phone rang again, and he said it was an Igbo woman called Titi.

RING RING RING RING RING. The alarm bells went crazy in my naive little mind.

I’m Igbo and have enough Nigerian friends to know that Titi is actually a Yoruba name. It took this subtle mistake for me to freak out internally and realise that this man was actually a psycho. But what could I do? He was about to give me his number; we were in the middle of Mcds and running away felt a little drastic. I told myself I had to get away. I painted my im-so-interested-i-care-what-you-think face on, nodded and took his number. Then he asked me to call him so he could have mine and my heart sank. I wanted to say no but of course, you guessed it, I obliged.

He asked me to work for him; training would be free because it was his birthday and I was Nigerian and he just loved my energy. You know what training included? A full body massage from him, which would require me to be naked. YAY. He told me I would enjoy it and if I worked for him, I could make up to £500 a day. Eventually he had to go to his ‘meeting’ and we parted ways.

(I blocked his number as I walked away and prayed I never saw him again)

Why am I telling you this story? It only shows how naïve and trusting I am, to so stupidly follow a stranger. But would I do it again? Perhaps. Let me tell you why:

1)The importance of evangelism

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20

Yes, those Christians who shout on the high street can be a little extreme but I think they have got it right in some ways. Jesus’ last instructions on earth were basically RUN AND TELL THAT but how many of us are ashamed of our belief in Jesus or afraid that people will mock us if we speak of him? When was the last time you shared something about him on your Facebook/Twitter page or to a friend who you know does not believe? Jesus can’t just be Lord of our rooms when we pray daily, he should be Lord of our lives and that includes declaration of his great works. If we are truly following Jesus, speaking about him at every given opportunity is part of it.

2) It’s nice to be nice

It always amuses me when I see  Christians who read their bibles on the tube but simultaneously give passers-by the dirtiest looks if they accidentally step on their feet. How do we treat the people we don’t know? I for one, don’t even like sitting next to people on public transport. Do you know how much that conflicts with the Jesus in me that sought out the marginalised, the dirty, the infected, the broken and befriended them? Meanwhile we won’t even make eye contact with people on the tube and if someone pushes past us and we are ready to attack. It’s either we are like Jesus, or we are not.

3)Letting God interrupt my day

The main reason I spoke to Michael is because I decided a month ago that I wanted to let God interrupt my day. Even though I make daily plans, I want to be available and I want to used by him. I spend my day looking and waiting for ways to help people I don’t know. Let me be clear, it’s not because I’m a nice person, it’s because I want to look like Christ. I don’t think we should have to tell people we are Christians, they should feel his light from us radiating as soon as they interact with us.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Hebrews 6:10

One my best friends threatened to lock me up after I told her this story, but I would do it all again. I will keep talking to strangers and I will do my very best to be open because I want to look Jesus, my best friend, the one that saved me. If that means talking to the Michaels of this world, then so be it.

Now run and tell that!

All my love,

Joyyy xxxxxx

Ps: by the way, I realised Michael is probably a pimp and may report him to the police.

The Day I Fell Off A Cliff

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On the 13th June I took my last ever undergraduate exam and simultaneously made the transition from student to graduate. For those who can relate to the seemingly upward hill struggle that encapsulates undergoing a degree, what comes next is only comparable to free fall. It’s somewhat surreal and yet exhilarating, a rush of excitement as you realise that you never have to take an exam again and a gulp of fear at the thought of having to plan your own future and shape your own destiny. The world is (to some extent) your oyster. As I look back on uni, the highs, the lows, and the in-between series watching and procrastination I am stunned at where God has brought me, and quite frankly who I’ve become.
I’ll give you some back story. When I started Uni I was an aspiring actress with my eyes set on the prize. After years of part-time training and auditions, getting through Uni was the final hurdle that once overcome, would allow me to push for an acting career with full force. Now, as I look towards the expanse of summer months, I’m waiting with baited breath for my banking grad scheme to start in September. Daniela doing a 9-5?! Who would have thought it? Definitely not me! The girl who enrolled in LSE in October 2011 is definitely not the same girl staring back at me in the mirror. Below are the bits and bobs that clumped together and resulted in the woman that writes this post. (Yuck I just called myself a woman, since when did I stop being a little girl who thought there was nothing she couldn’t achieve?!)

I learnt sooooooo much whilst at uni: here are the 3 things my degree didn’t teach me.

1) No man is an island
If you have any preconceptions about the kind of people that go to Russell Group Universities you can rest assure that I had the same ones. I’ve never considered myself to be extremely academic, and matched with my complete disinterest with current affairs, I took it for granted that I’d actually have anything to say to my classmates. I was so wrong. I had convinced myself that I could go through the whole 3 years without making any friends but looking back I don’t know what I’d have done without them. I’m so blessed to have been surrounded with people who hungered after God also, and the bible studies we shared and prayer sessions we conducted carried me through University. I can’t tell you the benefits of being able to tell someone about your problem and their first solution is prayer, but believe me they are plentiful. So often in our walks with Christ we don’t feel like we can completely be ourselves, but having people around you to reaffirm your faith is priceless. Some people think the fact that Jesus jammed (jammed=hung out) with sinners means it’s not necessary to have  Christian friends but don’t forget that the first thing Jesus did was choose his 12 disciples. I’m not saying Christians make better friends but having Christian friends can help you to become a better Christian.

As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend

Proverbs 27:17

2) You have to lean to deal with disappointment
First year was a struggle. Most of the pain was self-induced and stemmed from my lack of motivation for the discipline I was studying, but revision season was by far the biggest mountain of the bunch. I don’t think I’ve ever revised as hard in my life as I did in those 10 weeks before exams started. ‘Night shift, day shift, and every hour under the sun shift’ is the best descriptor of my revision timetable. I sacrificed my long-time lover (sleep) in exchange for hours on end with my nose deep in a book from the never-ending reading list. All that work only to scrape a pass. I remember opening my results and being hit with an overwhelming sense of disappointment as it sunk it that I wasn’t the high achieving student I’d always been.

Too often, when things don’t go the way we planned and we’re ready to give up on God in a heartbeat. Even if God promised you the very thing you haven’t received, you have no excuse to turn your back on your Saviour. Your journey with Christ isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you’re going to give up every time things don’t go your way, you aren’t going to get very far.

3) God orders your steps
When I was 18 I decided I was going to get ‘plans are made but our steps are ordered’ tattooed on my ribcage. I’m yet to get said tattoo but I can’t profess how much truth is in the scripture that my tatt is based upon. If anyone had told me that I’d give up acting I would have told them to stop cursing me with their negativity and block out the rest of their spiel. Now when people hear that I’m going to work in a bank they think ‘typical lse-er’ or ‘you’re one of those money-hungry types’ but they couldn’t have gotten me more wrong. I’ll tell you more about giving up the dream in a future post, but what I will say now is that, unless God has said it, it isn’t certain, and even when he has spoken, he can change his mind. I’m not saying that God randomly gives us instructions then completely redirects the courses of our lives, just for fun, but that lots of things last only for a season. Don’t ever get so set on something that when God is saying something new, you don’t want to listen.

A person plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

Many times God won’t force his will on you, but when disobedience has landed people in the belly of whales, I think letting God lead the way seems like the wise option.


I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have made it. There were times where I thought I wasn’t capable and other times when I didn’t even want to try but God has had his way. To my everlasting father, I just want to say: thank you. You can learn a lot from your degree but nothing is worth learning without Christ.

Hugs and kisses,

Dani xxxxxxx

Why My Relationship Failed

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Do you remember your first crush/relationship? I had so many obsessions and crushes growing up – I was an expert in unrequited love and imaginary boyfriends. I do, however, remember my first intense crush.

Let’s call him Tim.

All Tim and I had really had was the five-day pass but that was enough. We were falling asleep on the phone every night because we had unlimited calls to all T-mobile users for five days only, texting throughout the day (because those were unlimited too) and going on dates (okay, I lied, I think we went on one date). It was beautiful; we just couldn’t get enough of each other, it was that obsessive, all-consuming, intoxicating, I-cant-even-see-the-sun-because-all-I-can-see-is-you type of love infatuation.

Although our genesis was bliss, even at my tender age, I could feel when things were becoming rocky and when my fingertips were merely holding onto the cracks in our (infantile) foundation. Now, my 22-year-old self, an infrequent (yet loyal) user of the heartbreak hotel, can look back say that although the first few months were bliss, they were in no way an accurate indication of the relationship we were going to have.

So let me cut to the nitty-gritty; let’s talk about why my relationship failed.

Disclaimer: the below may or may not be entirely true of Tim and I’s relationship.

 

1) Complacency

The best parts of any relationship are the opening months, otherwise known as the honeymoon phase, because each individual is being the best version of himself or herself. As soon as you tell me that ‘you love me for me’ well, I don’t have to pretend I don’t mood swing/chew really loudly/wear a headscarf to bed. I can be ‘me’. Unfortunately the ‘me’ you are left with is always different to the ‘me’ you met. Did someone say disappointment?

2) Lack of communication

When we start out, you will think that my texting etiquette is phenomenal because I’m basically waiting around for your response. This is, once again, symptomatic of the honeymoon phase. In reality, I am a recluse who somehow manages to have friends. Once the honeymoon phase is over, we will go from instantaneous responses to pauses in conversation that may last quite a few days. It’s not that I’m not thinking about you – I am, in fact, I probably love you… I just can’t be bothered.

Sidenote: will you, potential husband, still want me after reading this?

3) Lack of time management

Yeah, we used to meet up three times a week but now life keeps getting in the way. Yep, you guessed it, the honeymoon phase is over and you are no longer the centre of my universe; I suddenly remember my passions, my hopes, my dreams and…my other friends whom I deserted all for you! Now they must also be attended to. I will see you……around.

4) Wrong expectations  

Your love cannot heal me and it does not have the power to make me whole. That (subconscious) expectation has killed many of my relationships. I’ve walked into relationships insecure and left feeling even worse simply because my worth and validation were dependent on the words and actions of another human. You know what happened when that person walked away from me? They took my confidence with them and I entered the heartbreak hotel.

Now that I’ve shamelessly divulged why my relationship failed, I’d like to tell you that my relationship with Jesus used to fail all the time for the same reasons.

All love stories begin the same and this one was no different. Jesus Christ called out to me and said:

 YO, you need me! You will find all that you are and all that you’ve been looking for, in me. That pain you have in your heart? I can take it away. Those voids you’ve been trying to fill with food and people? I fit perfectly in them.

The call was strong, my heart started thumping, so loudly that I was certain the people in the seats next to me could hear it. I was unable to move but I was unable to stay in the same place any longer – something had to change before the dark hole I had come to accept as my life consumed me. I walked to the front of my church, embarrassed, scared but hopeful that He would do all that He said He could.

The weeks/months after that encounter were blissful. All I wanted to do was become closer to Him. Reading the bible became second nature because I longed to know more about the being that formed me, that loved me unconditionally and laid His life down for me.

A relationship was born; I had fallen in love with Jesus.

Unfortunately, as time went on my prayers became shorter, my bible became untouched and the things I did before I had that encounter with Christ slowly began to creep back into my life. What happened to the passion? What happened to the zeal? What happened to our love?

1) Complacency

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun

2 Corinthians 5:17

At first I looked pretty new but in reality, I didn’t shed my old skin properly. I kept holding onto things (and people) that weren’t supposed to be part of my new life with Him. I got lazy and stopped fighting my desires and eventually those things pulled me away from Him, making each connection harder. I didn’t feel good enough for Him, in fact, I knew I wasn’t good enough, so I began to shy away until there was no contact being made at all.

2) Lack of communication

There is a difference between talking and communicating. Thanking God for a new day is necessary but that is just the beginning of the conversation, it cannot be the crux of your communication for that day. Sometimes we’ve got to lie on the floor and show God where it hurts, the wounds that refuse to stop bleeding and the burdens we can’t carry anymore. When we stop being real with Jesus, we stop having a real relationship with Him.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you

1 Peter 5:7

3) Lack of time management

Jesus was explicit in his requirements of us: love me then love everyone else too (Luke 10:27). That’s it. Everything after that (our desires, our jobs, our dreams) is secondary. If we let those things overshadow our relationship with God and stop intentionally setting time apart for him, our relationship will become stale.

4) Wrong expectations

For a long time, I thought that God was my personal fairy godmother and I believed that our relationship meant that I would get everything I prayed for. I also felt it meant that I wouldn’t have problems or experience crippling fear ever again. How wrong I was. Sometimes we pray for things and get upset when God doesn’t give them to us but we never know what God is protecting us from. Regardless of our faith in Jesus, we will always have to walk through challenging seasons but we have to remember that because of him, we will never, ever have to walk alone again (Deuteronomy 31:6).

A relationship works because we put the work in; wanting it to work is not enough. If we fail to put the work in, its failure is inevitable. For a long time my relationship was stunted because I waited for a feeling, an emotion or a situation to motivate me to work on my relationship with Jesus. We shouldn’t let our problems alone drive us back to Christ, rather we should be moving towards Him every single day; this is how our relationship with Him will be successful.

Yours on this beautiful Friday,

Joy xxxxxxxx