Tag Archives: spiritual

I Was Rejected By The One … And I Survived

Rejection Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.

Rejection is no easy subject to write about and to be quite frank, the negative events that sprang to mind when thinking about what to write were enough for me to put my laptop away and pretend I didn’t have a blog. Forgive me if I don’t do this post justice – it has taken me a long time to find the words. Forgive me also if I don’t use the most interesting event to illustrate my personal encounter with rejection– all my juicy rejection stories were just too intense to share on a Friday morning.

My oldest sister once wrote that we live in a society that allows us to bare our midriffs without hesitation but often restricts how we express our pain. Although she wrote this many years ago, the words continue to resonate with me (especially as summer is approaching and all I see right now is bellies, bellies, bellies). It is easier to talk about the mundane occurrences of life than it is to unpack that darkness that exists in each and every one of us. For this reason, we don’t talk about our rejections in day-to-day life. I rarely hear people say that they feel ‘rejected’ because I guess in many ways, it just sounds way too intense and heavy. However, if we take a second to look across our lives, there exists the moments where only the word ‘rejection’ sufficiently encapsulates what happened.

My rejection from the One stung. It broke, challenged, affected me and caused me to question my worth; for a long time I didn’t speak about it. To be honest, I haven’t told anyone spoken about this for the past 4 years. Maybe I’ve been repressing it; this blog keeps forcing me to tell my life stories sighhhh. 

I was in my 2nd year of Sixth Form and university applications were in season. As usual, I wasn’t taking the whole thing very seriously and despite my straight ‘As’ at AS Level I still didn’t quite believe I was smart enough to apply for any of the best universities; I couldn’t face the rejection or the possibility that the Unis could somehow know that my grades were indeed a fluke. So when the head of my Sixth Form began to speak of Oxbridge applications, my mind switched off (as it does quite frequently) because those kinda Unis had nothing to do with me.

My Mother (as usual) had other ideas. She told me that if I applied to Cambridge, she would pay for my driving lessons. It seemed like a good deal – all I had to do was send off an application and in exchange, I would take an intentional step towards my driving dream. My Sixth Form’s deadline for Oxbridge applications was in two days, so after school the next day, my friend and I went to KFC and stayed there until about 8pm and I wrote my personal statement. I had no idea what I wanted to study or why I wanted to go (perhaps because, in hindsight, university wasn’t for me) but I wrote what I thought sounded like a plausible argument and submitted it.

To my surprise I was invited for an interview and somewhere between my application and my interview, during those months filled with hope, prayer and preparation, Cambridge became the One.

Receiving my rejection email was horrible. Despite learning of the rejection while I was next to my then best friend, we didn’t have the sort of friendship where intense emotions were expressed so I read it to her but showed no outward emotion; she didn’t know that I was inwardly breaking down. As soon as I got on that bus, away from her and away from my pride, I cried. Oh, I cried. Shameless, hot, angry tears, which in hindsight, had a greater connection to my beliefs about myself than the rejection itself.

I’m not really sure how I went from being completely indifferent about Cambridge to believing that it was meant for me, but that’s life, isn’t it? One minute it’s just an application/ an encounter with a stranger and before you know it, the application is the gateway to your dream job and that encounter with the stranger becomes the way you met the love of your life. I think that is why rejection is so profound and deadly – there is no way to prepare for it because we don’t know who or what we will attach ourselves to and how that attachment will impact us.

Over the past few months, I have once again encountered the snake that is rejection but I’ve learnt to deal with it differently because of my current beliefs:

1) Where I am is where I am meant to be

On the days where nothing is happening, our minds can sometimes wander back to our defining moments; we think about what we could change in order to make our present moments better reflect where we thought we would be.

I want to put my belief to you:

There is nothing that occurs without God’s permission – the good, the bad and the ugly stuff. This belief usually causes all kinds of uproar because we have some ugly things happening in our world and some even uglier things happening to us; despite this, I still hold this belief.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28

The rejections from potential lovers, family members, friends and dream jobs will one day make sense. Maybe not now and may not for a while, but right now, in this very moment, you are where you are meant to be and all things are working together for your good.

2) God isn’t like those other humans

If you’ve been around the block a couple of times you will be aware that is often the people closest to us that end up hurting us the most. Even when we try and teach ourselves to expect the worst from people, rejection from those we love always has the capacity cut us deeply and viciously.

My experience of God has always been different.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10

I love this scripture because it basically says that even when the people who were created to love, nurture and protect me abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Despite having amazing parents, this verse still holds true for me. There have been times where my parents have done things I never thought they would do but this verse continuously picks me back up and reminds that it doesn’t really matter what they do because the Lord welcomes me with open arms and will touch my wounds with His love.


The fear of rejection often causes us to settle for things we know aren’t right for us instead stepping out in faith and reaching for the things we desperately desire. In those moments of fear we have to remember that God calls us to live boldly and we cannot let the fear of rejection cause us to lesser lives. Being rejected is never going to be easy but in the midst of the pain, regret and anger, always remember that you have someone on your side that will never reject you while you are alive and able to connect with Him. Your CV is good enough. Your personality is just right. Your flaws are beautiful to Him.

All the love I can muster on this day,

Joy xxxxxx

 

 

That Time I Wore An Invisibility Cloak To A House Party

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I loved Harry Potter growing up. Despite Mum telling me that witchcraft was real and I was frolicking with darkness, I devoured those books in secret, loving the places that the author allowed me to go. In my heart, I became Harriet Potty, Harry’s black adopted sister who was facing a similar fate to Harry. I waited for my letter of invitation to Hogwarts for many years; I waited, hoped and hoped some more but nothing ever came. I was devastated. For some reason I wasn’t eligible for this amazing school of witchcraft and wizardry (in hindsight, I thank God that I wasn’t) and I was forced to live life as a muggle with no special powers. If someone had told me back then that one day I would have the opportunity to wear an invisibility cloak (like the one Harry had), I would have cried tears of joy. Yeah, I’m not the coolest person. 

The first time I wore Harry’s invisibility cloak I was 18 years old, walking around Fresher’s Fair, hungover from the night before. The room was loud and obnoxious to my fragile ears and eyes and it was then, as I walked around the room crossing the paths of hundreds of people, that I felt like no one could see me. The noise and the loneliness finally overwhelmed me and I ran back to the safety of my room, where the loneliness could feel more like a choice than a bullish reality. From that day, the invisibility cloak was no longer Harry’s, it was mine and it became part of my being; not a part I loved but a part that I accepted. I never willingly put it on but after a few attempts of trying and failing to be seen, I stopped trying to take it off and let it merge with my being. I became smaller, fragile and timid.

University, for me, was the biggest hype of LIFE, the biggest hype known to man, known to beast, known to every single living thing. Adults and recent graduates told me all sort of folk tales about their university experience:

You will LOVE it, they said.

You will meet your lifelong friends, they said.

You will meet the love your life, they said.

You will never want to leave, they said.

I experienced none of the above.

University was a trying experience, a time of painful growth and acknowledgment of my flaws. Although it was necessary, I did not enjoy it. You see, in that very first year of university, I wanted to be seen because at that time in my life, being seen would have meant feeling alive, and this was a feeling that often eluded me during this time.

One night I was at a house party (it was really just a boring gathering in a house which was located in the middle of nowhere – I really wish people would label their events correctly: rave is different from house party which is different from gathering; I am too tired of this false promotion), insecure, sad, lonely, and once again wearing my invisibility cloak. I couldn’t seem to take it off, people just kept walking past me. I spent the night in the corner of the room on a chair, with my friend (who had friends there) every so often remembering that I was her +1 and asking me if I was okay. Every time I lied and said I was; I was lonely and on the brink of tears, but I still had my pride! Needless to say, that night goes down as one of the worst house parties I have ever attended.

Later that night, my friend and I got lost (yes, the night got worse) and we wandered around Manchester at 3.am (don’t tell my mum!), looking for a cab, a bus stop or a friendly stranger who could point us in the right direction, which was of course unlikely given the time. With nothing left to do but walk and talk, we began to share our problems and fears with each other in a way that we had not done before. We both fought back tears that night as we told each other how miserable, invisible and alone we felt every single day. Despite knowing deep down that we had so much to give and so much to offer the world, we only felt small and insignificant.

All I wanted that night was to be seen, to be spoken to and to be acknowledged. To this day I can still remember that painful feeling of loneliness and literally counting down the hours until I could be at home in my bed, crying to my then boyfriend about how horrible my life was (notice I wasn’t crying to God about this invisibility problem – this was definitely part of the problem). I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking “look at these first world problems, girl you should have just spoken to someone!” To be honest, I wish I had been brave enough to. But then, if I had, I wouldn’t be sharing this story.

Some of you are wondering whether this post will tell you if I finally took off my invisibility cloak; it does, keep reading!

The next year I gave my life to Christ and began my pursuit of him. God began to break me apart in order to build me back up again. He had to break me apart first because there were deep-rooted lies I believed about my worth and my significance and those lies couldn’t co-exist with his love and belief in me. One day I was reading my Bible and I came across this verse:

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

John 1:48

Before Philip called Nathanael, before Nathanael knew who Jesus was, Jesus saw him. Jesus had his eye on him, Jesus was interested in him and Jesus had already chosen him. Jesus saw him. As I read this scripture, the penny dropped: Jesus sees me too.

When everyone in the room is talking and I’m being ignored, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I don’t feel good enough, Jesus sees me.

On the days when I do not feel as though I can compete, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I only feel anxious and unsure of myself, Jesus sees me.

I am seen.

The good, the bad, and the things I hide from other people because I fear I will be judged are all seen by Jesus and yet he still wants to know me. This truth helped me to take off my invisibility cloak. It wasn’t some great big reveal, it was a slow and painful process where Jesus took it the cloak apart piece by piece until suddenly, I could see myself the way he did.

So to you, reader, the one that feels invisible, as though you don’t matter. You do.

To you, feeling overlooked, you are seen.

To you, in pain, you are seen.

To you, overwhelmed, you are seen.

To you, invisible, you are seen.

To you, insecure, you are seen.

Jesus thinks you’re enough. He loves you. He sees you.

All my love,

Joy x

P.s: I have included a song which I used to sing  and wish could be my reality. Now it is and I thank God. Hope it helps you too xx

What I Learnt: Hallowed Be Thy Names

hallowed-be-thy-names-david-wilkerson

 

Why I chose this book

I was quite excited to read this book because I hoped that it would positively impact my prayer life. There are times where I just want to praise God for who he is and remind him of all his amazing attributes and…well, I can’t, simply because I don’t know enough of them. Does anyone else ever run out of things to say?

I also think it is important to remind God of who he is (not because he forgets) but because it increases our faith and belief, especially in times of great difficulty.

5 things I learnt 

1. Know God

We can know someone’s name and have very little knowledge about who they are. Some of us claim to be Christians but know God on a very basic level and are yet to explore what the Bible says about his nature, his characteristics and his personality. I think a lack of understanding concerning the character of God can have harmful consequences such as stunted growth and limited expectations of him.

If we do not know that God is Jehovah Jireh, our provider, what will we do when we are in times of financial difficulty? Will we call upon God and remind of who he is or will we crumble under the financial weight? If we do not know that God is El Shaddai (all-sufficient), how we will ever shift our focus from our own weakness, powerlessness and failures, to his ability to keep us, teach us and make a way for us in the wilderness?

I think this book once again highlighted the necessity of reading the Bible every single day and being in relentless pursuit of God. At the beginning of my relationship with God, a prayer a day was absolutely fine but that is no longer sufficient given the time that has passed. If you are still where you were when you first started your journey with God, I think it is perhaps time to reflect on what you actually desire from your relationship with him and what he desires from you. Every day is an opportunity for growth and we shouldn’t let these opportunities pass us by.

2. Problems can be good for you

It is only in the past year that I have come to appreciate the problems and trials that I face. Being a Christian doesn’t excuse me from life’s pains but it does give me access to an amazing pain-reliever. When we look back on our lives in years to come, our most remembered moments will be the ones of pain, the moments where we felt like we had nothing more to give but managed to somehow survive. Hallowed Be Thy Names continuously reminds the reader that it is in the most difficult and trying times of our lives that God gives us a revelation about who he is and a fresh view of his character and power towards us. In order to overcome the challenges we face in our lives, we have to have a deep-rooted belief that our steps are ordered, leaving no room for accidents, good/bad luck and coincidences; everything happens for a reason and ultimately for our good.

3. Are you angry with God?

Some of you are angry with God in this very moment and this anger is linked to moment in your past where you feel God failed you.

God, you said you were going to help me but all I felt was loneliness

God, you said you keep my loved ones safe, but the person I loved the most died

God, you said no weapon formed against me would prosper and yet every single day I wake up sick

You wanted God to come through for you but he didn’t. He let those bad things happen to you and knowledge of this constantly overrides your love for him and your desire to seek him. Whenever you begin to get comfortable with God you remind yourself of that intense pain he failed to shield you from, retract and question his existence all over again. All you can think is “well you let THIS happen” and “where were YOU when I felt like this”.

It wasn’t until I read this that I realised that I also had some issues with God. I had to admit those issues God and ask him where he had been during some of the hardest times in my life. I can’t tell you where He was during your storm but as I looked back on those hard and dark years, I realised that God was there. Even though I felt isolated and alone during those years, the fact that I am still standing today, free from the issues that once held me captive, is evidence of God’s love and presence. He didn’t leave then and come back a few years later; he was always there.

4. It is not enough to just acknowledge your sins

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:23

I sin. You sin. We sin.

But are we still moved by our sins? Have we become desensitised to the magnitude of our actions? Yes, we cry out to God and repent but the very next day, we are back to the very thing we asked God to save us from. How genuine is our cry of repentance if we return to the sin? The more we engage with the sin, the less convicted we will feel and eventually it will feel as though the sin isn’t even ‘that bad’. If we hold onto our sin we will eventually forsake God and be given over to our lusts. God will send warnings but eventually we will move so far away that we will no longer be able to hear his voice. We need to daily cut sin away from our lives and fight the desire to do that which we know is wrong.

5. Grace over wrath

The wrath of God isn’t as fun to talk about as the love of God, is it? As Christians, when we fail to speak about the wrath of God, it’s like giving the listener the best ice cream in the world but not warning them about brain freeze. We want to sell them his love but not warn them of his wrath; in doing so we fail to fully encapsulate the nature of God.

God is merciful, kind, patient, compassionate, full of love and grace

BUT

God is also holy, just, pure, severe, unchangeable, a despiser of sin and no respecter of persons.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them

Romans 1:18-19

 

Would I read the book again?

To be honest, I wouldn’t. I do love how much I am learning as Dani and I go through books and write about them and I am finding that each book has something to offer. This book I felt had too much opinion and I found the author quite conservative.  Despite this, it increased my desire to learn more about the nature of God and I will be reading more about this subject in the weeks ahead.

Lots of loving,

J xxxx

 

My First Encounter With A Prostitute

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I’ve always been fascinated by women who use their bodies as a source of income. I think it’s more my need to understand everything than an actual interest in the industry, but even as a teenager, I always asked ‘why?’ Was it a love for sex? Was it love of quick and “easy” money? (I don’t think prostitution is easy money at all – that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth) Was it a means of survival? Vocations such as prostitution also caused me to question my ideals concerning sex and marriage; maybe the women who worked in these industries were the ones living liberated lives while the rest of the female population obsessed over the idea of the “the One” and continued to feel shamed as the number of men they have slept with increased.

I’ve had these questions in my head for years and up until last month, they remained unanswered and I was yet to have a real encounter with a prostitute. You can imagine my surprise when I met her, in my room, within the pages of my Bible. Her name was Rahab.

I’m going to give you key facts – if you want the full story, feel free to read Joshua 2:

  • Rahab was a prostitute. She lived on the edge of society and ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall.
  • Through the men she met (and slept with) Rahab came to learn about the God of Israel and the miracle of the Red Sea.
  • When the two spies sent by Joshua, seeking refuge in her inn, she knew that king of Jericho would hear of them and seek to kill them.
  • Rahab  planned the protection and escape of the two spies and when Jericho was eventually invaded by the Israelites, Joshua remembered how Rahab helped the spies and saved Rahab and her family.
  • She later gave birth to Boaz, making her the great-great-grandmother of King David, whose lineage continues on to Jesus.
  • In the New Testament, her name is placed amongst those in the Old Testament who had exemplified extraordinary faith (Hebrews 11:31).

As Christians, we love Rahab, don’t we?! She perfectly illustrates how the perfect will of God can come to pass and how he can use anyone.

But what about the people we have known who have given their bodies to men without a second thought? The people whose lifestyles we do not understand and do not agree with; do we love them too? How many prostitutes would feel accepted and loved if they visited your church?

“You sell your body?! You must be a bad person”

The above statement simply cannot be true. There is this notion that your sins have the power to decide whether you are worthy of acceptance and love, which is something my mind cannot fathom given that no man is without sin. If I am not defined by my sins, why should you be?

We have forgotten that God loves everyone and has a plan for each and every life despite the stage at which we meet each other – prostitutes included. We’ve stopped caring about the evidence at the crime scene and have become consumed with the crime itself, continuously making assumptions about a person’s faith, beliefs, worth and where they will spend eternity. In doing so, we fail to see the bigger picture and fail to view people in the love and light of Christ.

This judgment and this lack of compassion have resulted in people staying away from church because they are afraid to be judged and condemned. It has resulted in Christians coming to church, warming their seats and staying silent about the internal conflicts they face on a daily basis, afraid that the people they have come to regard as family will shun them once they find out what they’re struggling with. Some of us Christians have moved away from the Jesus that spent most of his time on the streets; he wasn’t in the synagogue playing happy families and arguing over who would lead praise and worship on a Sunday morning. In fact, Jesus continuously spoke to those who had been marginalised; the lepers, the blind, the tax collectors, and the adulterers – those were the people he spent his time with.

So what did I learn from my first encounter with a prostitute?

1)  Look at the heart

Do not judge others based on their actions alone. We are called to look a little deeper. This doesn’t mean that we should applaud and encourage sin but it does mean that we should look at the heart of another instead of looking solely at the outcome.

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart

1 Samuel 16:7

God doesn’t disqualify people because of their current circumstances so why should we?

 

2) God isn’t waiting for perfection

I’ve met so many people who feel as though they have to change dramatically before they come to God but the beauty of God is that when we come to him, everything changes. Rahab wasn’t  living a righteous life but her willingness to serve and her understanding of God brought her closer to him. She wasn’t perfect but she was willing.

 

3) You are more than your past

If you look in the mirror daily and only call yourself by the negative names you used to be known by, you will never truly move in the love and grace available to you. The only reason we should ever look back is to appreciate how far we’ve come. A lot of us are letting our past hold us captive but Rahab proves that your beginning does not necessarily determine your future. Where do we find her at the end of Bible? In the linage of Jesus.

 

4) Your family are important

When you’re finding God for yourself, I think it is your responsibility to let your family know about the changes that are occurring within you. It’s hard being interested in God when no one around you believes or generally thinks that he is a fictional character, but if you are finding faith, share it. Rahab didn’t just save herself and never look back; she grabbed her Aunty, Uncle, dog and cat and saved them too.

 

5) Love first

I think I realised at some point that life isn’t just black or white; most of us live in the murky grey full of good intentions and questionable outcomes. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is clear that there is a standard, make no mistake about that (1 Peter 1:16 – for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy) and sin is intolerable to God, however, judging people before loving them doesn’t work in real life contexts and often does more harm than good.

Let’s make a decision to love first because love heals, love restores, it covers all wrongs, it is kind and it is true. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

So Rahab, thank you for the lessons….now to meet a living prostitute….

 

Lots of LOVELOVELOVE,

 

J xxxxxxx

How To Stop Being A Pushover

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If you’re anything like me, you probably struggle to keep your mouth shut.

How can you be a pushover if you’ve got a big mouth, you say? Keep reading!

I am honest to a fault; I say what I think, as I’m thinking it because I just have this deep desire to express myself. I say what’s on my mind without really considering the aftermath, which often has…unusual consequences.  Although I’m not intentionally malicious, my lack of tact means I often come across as callous (sad face) and there have been (many) times (probably still happening) where my words have been insensitive and have hurt people.

As a result of past experiences I have learnt to carefully consider my words before I say them; these days I speak so slowly you’ll sometimes catch my face and hands frozen in agony as I try to find the best way to articulate a contentious point without hurting your feelings. It is tiresome and I savour the moments I’m around people who just get me and never get offended. It has become easier to stay silent, even about the things that matter. These days, when people offend/hurt me, I tend to swallow my hurt or more recently, tell the person how I feel about the situation… in my head. I tell them how hurt and angry I am and they apologise; we have the confrontation, we fight it out and everything is okay…in my head. In real life, I never actually say how I feel.

The problem with not speaking as much/having mental confrontations is that people are always going to do things that hurt and offend us – it’s a part of life. I can mentally confront them all I want, if I do not speak out,the person will never know what they’ve done and is therefore more likely to repeat the offence. Furthermore, the longer our emotions are allowed to fester in our minds, the more dire the offence feels, increasing the likelihood that we will explode (like I did this week).

Did someone say ‘conundrum’!?!

This week, I wrote a step-by-step guide to having healthy and happy confrontations. This was written after a few (real and dreadful) arguments that took place this week due to my lack of communication and inability to articulate my feelings. After apologising to everyone I had exploded upon, I thought to myself, “enough is enough Joy, you need to find a way to confront people without being a meanie”.  So here it is!

I included some hyperlinks. Click them, they are so fun. Sorry, I’m being geeky (again)


1. Think carefully first

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

James 1:19

An old friend used to say ‘Joy, that’s how you feel but that’s not what’s real’. It used to annoy me and at the time I felt as though he was dismissing my feelings but in hindsight, his words were quite profound. You can feel deeply about something, you can be angry and upset about it, but it is just a feeling. The same thing could happen next year and because you don’t ‘feel’ the same way about it, you may not even react. (<<<My last sentence should put into perspective how transitory our emotions can be). We can’t always act on our feelings because although our feelings are valid, meaningful and in some way linked to a real incident, they are in no way objective measures and therefore cannot be relied upon fully when making decisions. Think rationally before you purse a discussion and try to separate what you know to be true from how you feel. Sleep on it, you might feel differently in the morning.

 

2. Submit the problem to God

This step is key. Sometimes we are offended because our ego has been bruised, not necessarily because we have been wronged. More often than not, we need God to settle our spirits, help us to see where we could have done things differently and give us a fresh perspective on the situation. Imagine if we are actually the ones in the wrong (which is usually the case with me) and we are going in with guns, guns, guns only to have the person take the guns we brought to the scene and shoot us? After talking to God about the problem you may not even need to move on it; that conversation may be enough as he may give you peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Sidebar: I’ve used this step in isolation quite a few times – I’ve prayed about it and ‘forgiven’ the person without actually confronting them. The first time I did it I thought I was so Christian, so cool and so saved  until the person sent me a text to find out how I was (obviously oblivious to the argument we had been having in my head) and I started remembering how grieved I was. This was not true forgiveness. Forgiveness means we no longer dwell on the wrong and it no longer has the capacity to move our emotions – it should be as though it never happened.

 

3. Pray for the person who hurt you

Yeah, I know, sounds a bit random and rather difficult given that you’re annoyed at them but I think we often avoid confronting people because we are afraid of what their reactions could be: what if they shout at us? What if they stop talking to us? What if they think we are weak?

I think we should begin to pray ahead of tough conversations and ask God to soften the recipient’s heart and make them open to our words. As we pray for them we should also pray that God would give us words that which will cause minimal damage but also allow us to honestly say how we feel.

 

4. Don’t text about it

Texts weren’t created for long and emotional conversations (which is why the creation of emojis was so revolutionary – people could ‘hear’ us better). We have no voice when texting and the person can only hear what you’re saying in the way that they believe you’re saying it, which often has disastrous consequences. For example:

I’m tired of this (angry, fed up, ready to move on)

I’m tired of this (exhausted, sad, willing to move forward)

Text distortion is real; the same words can be received very differently depending on how the recipient feels.

I have had countless (stupid) arguments over text because it was easier than calling the person and discussing how I felt. Never again. I am now in the business of building bridges, not burning them, thus emotional discussions are  given the appropriate time and setting. If you can’t meet, use Skype or FaceTime for my fellow iPhone users; if you have no Wi-Fi, just call. I know it’s easier to hide behind text and not let the other person see how hurt you are and hear your voice crack with emotion when you say certain words, but this may be the difference between moving back and moving forward.

 

5. Speak in the way you’d like to be spoken to

God knows how hypocritical I feel writing that step as I’m still practising how to implement it; I am the queen of speaking in anger and regretting it two minutes later. My childhood nickname was ‘time bomb’ coz no one knew when I’d explode. Realising that anger is usually just sadness and disappointment in disguise helps to change the way you address someone who has hurt you. Instead of speaking in rage, you can speak honestly about the hurt you’re experiencing because of what they have done. Be sure to taste your words before you say them. When I knew I couldn’t be trusted to consider another’s feelings during a confrontation I would write down my thoughts, read them over and build it into something I could say to them face-to-face. It helped massively.

 

6. Let it go

This is the hardest step. After you’ve said your piece, that’s it, it is over. Mentally replaying the conversation over and over won’t change what was said. At this point it is important ask God to heal whatever was broken during the process (from the time of offence to the end of the last conversation) and to close your wounds fully so that they can never be reopened.

It’s over. Forgive them. I repeat: this is the hardest step. Forgiveness is not lording their transgression over their head and reminding them at every opportunity that they are the reason for your pain, forgiveness is accepting an apology you may not have gotten and moving forward, with or without them.

I Repeat: Hardest Step


 

 

And there you have it, my step-by-step guide to confronting people. What do you think? Is there anything you would do differently? Let me know in the comments section!

All my love!

Joy x

Why You’ll Never Have The Perfect Body

foetal

Summer is fast approaching which means summer bodies are on the horizon, y’aaaall. It’s soon about to be that time of the year where everyone can shamelessly unveil all the hours they have been putting in the gym since January (OH, is it just me planning to do this??). I am the queen of fitness regimes, the starting them- not necessarily the completion of them. I regularly ask my little sister to take ‘before’ pictures of me but because I never actually complete the fitness regime, I can never take an ‘after’ picture to post on Instagram which means no one can ‘like’ my progress and validate my weight loss (I joke, I joke) (okay, I’m not really joking, I have hundreds of ‘before’ pictures). I have bought Davina’s fitness DVD, Coleen Rooney’s fitness DVD, I even tried ‘Insanity’ with the almighty Shaun T. At the moment I’m trying out different gym classes. I kinda die every session, my screams are often drowned out by the blaring techno music and I usually spend most of my sessions wondering why I came, telling God that I am going to die and him responding that I’m not going to die just yet; I think it’s become our thing.

I used to run. I used to jog twice a week, every single week, one mile there, one mile back, in the rain (yes, some black women are unafraid to get their hair wet..…okay, it was a weave) in the wind, and even in the dark. I was simultaneously losing weight and self-medicating. Feeling both stressed and powerless, running allowed me to establish a sense of control; I could control my speed, my route and my level of determination. Outside of those minutes spent running, my life was out of my control as my health continued to spiral downward with no medical explanation. After a while, I could barely walk to the bus stop and running soon became a thing of the past, a favourite thing and a thing that I sorely missed. As soon as I felt well enough, I went back out there and I began to run again. After about the third run, I realised something:

 

I hated running.

 

Not a cute hate i.e. I hated the thought of running but as soon as I was out there, I loved every moment. No, I hated the thought of running AND the moments I spent outside. I hated pounding my heavy feet against the unforgiving pavement, I hated the way my calves felt like they were going to expand and split in two, I hated the taste of blood in my mouth and the stares I received from strange men who looked like they were imagining I was running towards them…

 

I hated running.

 

So why did I keep running after I realised I loathed it? My rocky weight loss path is a blog post in itself, which I hope to share one day but in short, I wasn’t enough. Every time I became satisfied with one aspect of my body, another flaw would rear its ugly head, my low self-esteem would magnify it and off I would go trying to change myself in order to become the perfect version of myself I so desperately longed to be. Before you start feeling sorry for me and  (virtually) begin to pat my arm, let’s be clear – this isn’t a sob story. I am pretty sure every single one of us has had a moment where we’ve looked in the mirror and thought ‘ugh, what is that?!’ It’s weird how hard we workout in the gym and push our bodies to the limit in order to achieve an unattainable standard of beauty.

Whether we actively jog or not,  we all spend a lot of our time running. We devote the majority of our lives to running from our fears and chasing the things we hope will fill the voids in our lives. We chase degrees because we hope that they will, in some way, validate our intelligence. We chase the opposite sex because we believe in them we will achieve the completion our souls were built to crave. We chase particular jobs because we crave status and we are tired of sitting on the floor whilst watching our counterparts rise to the top.

I quit jogging months ago but I’m still running. This week I asked myself when I would stop running. I asked myself when I would take a minute, look around and realise that God had given me everything I needed to survive? I asked myself if what I had would ever be enough or whether I would spend the rest of my life desiring and wishing for more. You see the pursuit of the above isn’t futile or negative but these things will never truly satisfy us. That body you crave? Yeah, you’ll find a fault with it. That job you so desperately desire? Your boss will probably end up being a sadistic dictator. That person you feel will complete you? Yeah, love is beautiful but love also hurts and no amount of love can heal you if you don’t take the time to nurse your own wounds.

So why do we keep running? What are we running towards? Is it Him or the earthly treasures that are so easily destroyed (Matthew 6:19)? I think we need to get to a place where we can say God, if you are all I ever have, you are enough. The car, the dream house, that amazing job and even that marriage and kids thing, those are all luxuries when compared to the joy and fulfilment I have in you. If my life consisted of you and I on a desert island, that’s cool coz you are everything I’ll ever need; you are all I need to get by. You are it for me and I will run towards you only, remembering Matthew 6:33:

 

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 

 

All my love and have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xxxx

How To Stop Feeling Lonely

loneliness

 

The saying “no man is an island” is a phrase I’ve often heard and one that is usually used to evidence our need for human interaction. As a society, we have accepted that to be alone is to be lonely, making it taboo to go the cinema alone or eat alone in a restaurant. For some, the very thought of engaging in social activities alone is enough to make them sweat, while others do it as an act of defiance, determined to prove that they cannot be moulded by society.  If you’re one of those “I can eat alone, don’t need nobody” types, that’s cool – more power to you. But if you go to a restaurant alone and speak to your friends on Whatsapp while you eat and tweet about amazing your dining experience as it is happening then….

The truth is, we like to have people around us, physically, or more recently via mediums such as BBM, Whatsapp and Twitter, which can give the illusion of company if even we are alone. We speak on the phone during short walks from the station; our eyes are glued to our iPhone screens as we cross busy roads, and we engage in frivolous conversation without realising how much time we are actually expending. It is as though our generation are unable to enjoy a moment without feeling the need to share it with people who aren’t there. Unfortunately, we spend more time trying to capture moments than we do experiencing them.

I think the problem with being constantly connected is that when there is no one around, we begin to feel lonely. Not the cute lonely like “aw, I wish Jeff was here” (there is no Jeff, just a random name I thought of lol) but a nagging, irritating, almost painful lonely which makes us uncomfortable and causes us to reach out to people unnecessarily so that they can protect us from the loneliness that we feel. As a result, we are never forced to address the underlying cause of our loneliness.

Loneliness is such a hard feeling to face. I quite like my own company, hate Whatsapp and tend to spend a lot of time alone. Usually it’s fine. Other days, the feeling of loneliness can creep in which makes me question myself. Why are moments of solitude so uncomfortable? Why aren’t they met with jubilation? Why don’t I use those moments to wrestle with the parts of my being that I know need to be fixed instead of reaching out for people who will only move my attention away from the internal work that needs to be done?

I once read that the feeling of loneliness is God trying to remind us that he’s still around; that feeling is God beckoning us to his side. That hollow feeling? That need for company? Apparently, that’s him knocking. Do I believe this to be true? To be quite honest, it sounds nice but I’m not convinced  – if it’s not literally written in scripture and is being inferred, I’m always tentative in taking it as truth. However, I do know that God is always close to us.

Acts 17: 27

God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

God wants us to speak to him, he wants to be close to us and he is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5) –  he wants to be first in our lives ALL the time. He wants to be the one we run to when we feel overwhelmed or unsafe as he longs to be the one that saves us. As Christians, we shouldn’t ever feel lonely because we have unlimited access to an unlimited God who always wants to sit with us and talk through whatever! I talk to God about my insatiable need for chicken, boy drama, whether squats will actually work (THEY DO!!), whether the dreams he has laid on my heart will ever come to pass…the list goes on because there is just SO much to say. The best part is I don’t have to hold back, I can be myself because he already knows everything about me. There is no pride, no discretion and no need to appear as though I have everything figured out.

The next time you feel lonely, maybe reach for the Bible (app) before you reach for Whatsapp. If you don’t feel like reading the bible but you want to have a conversation with someone, just speak to him; he’s always listening.

Love and all that other mushy stuff,

Joy xxx

What I Learnt After I Got My Heartbroken

Heartbreak-300x224

I think it’s strange that we only associate heartbreak with ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m sure you clicked this link to read all the gory details about a relationship you probably didn’t even know I was in. The truth is heartbreak doesn’t just happen after the dissolution of a relationship. The first time I experienced heartbreak, I was 17 and I’m pretty sure I was still invisible to the male species. It was during that period of my life, which was shrouded in darkness, that I realised that heartbreak doesn’t just occur after the love of your life leaves you. It happens when your Mum dies unexpectedly. When you find out your best friend has been sleeping with your husband. When the friend you relied on for everything stops talking to you without explaining why. When your Dad leaves you and your mum and starts a new family. When Shonda Rhimes kills your favourite Grey’s Anatomy characters.

Heartbreak reminds us that we are only human. Our hearts stop being that organ keeping us alive and morphs into that pain in our chest that has the capacity to overwhelm us every time we mentally relive the moment everything changed. Our hearts suddenly have the power to cause our eyes to sting, water to fall and to make us feel as though we can’t breathe.

 

And then it passes.

 

 

Well, sometimes.

 

The pain can be momentary but during the heartbreak season, the line between psychological pain and physiological pain can become blurred as both your body and your mind fight to tell their side of the story and let you know how awful things really are. I’m talking about the depression, the anxiety attacks, the trouble sleeping, the disinterest in everything that once made you feel alive and the tears, oh the tears…the real ish we keep to ourselves because it’s not as easy to talk about our pain as it is to discuss clothes, shoes, bags and the weather.

I think it is only as I began rise out of the heartbreak season that I began to grasp the transient nature of seasons and storms; although I had fallen (hard), there would come a time when I would rise again. With every passing day I became harder, better, faster, stronger (omg, a Kanye reference on the blog, FINALLY) and my perspective on life changed forever. I realised that there would always be good in every bad situation and bad in every good situation because no season can ever be completely bad or good – just as I was able to see light on my darkest days, on the best days, the darkness could sometimes still be felt. Once I understood this truth I began to see the season differently which gave me the strength to crawl on the days where I did not feel as though I could walk. On those days I would say to myself ‘this too, shall pass’.

Since then, I have come to know that all I see around me shall pass. The places that feel like home, the people I find home in and all the things that give me that sense of belonging I can’t help but crave, shall eventually pass. New things will replace them. This has caused me to have a deeper appreciation of moments; whenever I feel happiness, joy, peace or contentment, I inhale the moment. I breathe them in. I make them last for as long as I can, knowing that as that breath passes, so will the moment. It doesn’t diminish the feelings or the moment; rather it reminds me to hold every beautiful moment as best I can because it will pass and within hours become a memory.

If you are in the storm, this post is probably as source of comfort. However, if you are enjoying your life, living well and breathing easily, reading this may be a bit depressing as you realise that this season will inevitably end because no season can ever last forever.

 2 Corinthians 4:17

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

When things are amazing I look to God. When things are bad and I feel like I can’t breathe because my problems and fears are suffocating me, I look to God. The author and finisher of my faith, the one who knew every moment I would ever hold and the one who knows which moments I will cling to until I learn how to let go. I look to the One who does not pass.

Lots of love,

Joyboy xxx

 

The Day I Lost My iPad

photo (3)

Yesterday was a weird day. Fantastic, horrible, amazing.

I was on the train, on my way home from work (which is three hours away) and I was hungry. Not your, ‘oh, I’m slightly peckish’ type of hungry, no I’m talking ‘I feel like there is hole in my stomach which will never be filled no matter what I put in my mouth’ sorta hungry. I hadn’t eaten properly all week (long story) and that was probably the root of my frustration. I was also feeling quite nothing. Have you ever felt ‘nothing’ before? I didn’t feel like nothing (we thank God for working out my confidence levels!) but I just felt as though what I had to offer, my potential and my gifts were not being utilised. This frustration coupled with the hole in my stomach led me to wanting to smash my phone against the train window and scream.

A few months ago I learnt a lesson about gratitude, which I will carry with me forever. In the moments where I feel most frustrated, overwhelmed and powerless, I start to list the things I am most grateful for. I shift my focus from my problems to my blessings. It usually helps. I also decided to quietly sing some songs of worship which caused people to look at me but I figured it was better that they looked at me because I was singing than they looked at me because I smashed my phone against the train window.

The train finally pulled into the station and by this point I was feeling quite perky. I’d switched from my gospel to a bit of Beyonce and I was feeling myself a little. I had already planned to order pizza as soon as I got home and in my head, I was already in my room, chilling, eating and watching ‘Friends’.

I walked over to where I had left my suitcase and it had gone.

What?

Yeah, it had gone.

I started to think about what I had left in it. My iPad. My beautiful iPad, April, which held the contents of every blogpost I’d ever written, moments I had shared with Jesus, scriptures I loved and lessons that I was learning. My baby was gone. I could buy another iPad but I knew I would never get those words back.

I ran down the train aisle and pushed past everyone to see if I had left my suitcase on the other side of the train. It wasn’t there.

Fam. I was panicked. My heart was beating. A woman asked me what was wrong. I responded that my suitcase had been stolen and I didn’t know what I was going to do. It had my iPad in it. She seemed concerned and she began to ask me questions. See me, I’m not into strangers at ALL. I watch too many TV dramas about serial killers to engage with people I don’t know. Even in my anxious state, I was still aware that she was a stranger and could kill me at any moment.

I noticed that another suitcase was still there, which looked like mine but wasn’t. I realised that the person must have mistakenly taken my suitcase. I grabbed the suitcase. I still didn’t know what I was going to do. Meanwhile, the woman was still there, trying to tell the train assistants what had happened, walking with me and trying to reassure me. The assistants told me to report it to the police and walked on by. They didn’t care. I must forgive them for that.

We reached the information desk and the woman told me to open up the suitcase to see if I could glean any information about the owner of the suitcase. I opened the suitcase; I saw boxers, an asthma pump, a charger but no personal details. I zipped it back up, deflated and resigned to the fact that I would never see April again. As I picked the suitcase off the floor, I realised that there was a piece of paper in one of the pockets at the back, I pulled it out and opened it.

There it was, the name, number and address of the person that had taken my suitcase. The woman and I rejoiced for about 30 seconds. The address was in Ireland and the number was foreign. My rejoicing ceased and I began to worry again. I called the number.

“Hello?”

“HI MY NAME IS JOY AND I THINK YOU HAVE MY SUITCASE!!!”

“Sorry? Oh my gosh! Yes I do. I am so sorry! How did this happen??”

“I THINK YOU TOOK IT MISTAKENLY. WHERE ARE YOU???”

“I’m in St Pancras, I’m just about to go into my hotel”

“OH MY GOSH, I’M STIL IN THE TRAIN STATION. I’M ON THE PLATFORM”

“I’m coming back! Wow, I can’t believe this has happened. You are so smart for noticing.”

“NO YOU ARE THE GENIUS BECAUSE YOU LEFT YOUR DETAILS IN THE BACK POCKET. YOU’RE GREAT. YOU’RE THE BEST OH MY GOSH.”

“Ok, I’m on my way! I am wearing a red jacket and I have no hair.”

“I HAVE SHORT HAIR AND I LOOK WORRIED”

“Ok, see you!”

The woman and I hugged, we were so happy! We thanked God, I thanked her for staying with me and being so kind. I was a stranger but she showed me such love and kindness. As we were praising God, a bald man, in a red jacket walked towards us.

We embraced.

Yes, I hugged TWO strangers yesterday.

He apologised to me.

I thanked him. Thanked him over and over again. We exchanged suitcases and then he left.

I began to thank God. I don’t know why yesterday occurred. I do know that I was struggling to count my blessings and then God gave me something to be grateful for. He taught me how important it was to be kind to strangers and extend love to every single person I encountered. Jackie helped me so much, she was such a calming presence and I know that if she hadn’t told me to look in that suitcase I wouldn’t have done so. She gave me her time and she gave me her love. I am so grateful for her! Oh and to God, my best friend, thank you. April is safe and sound. My beautiful queen is sitting next to me as I type this. GRATEFUL!

Joy xxxxxx

Ruth 1

Before we begin, here is the book that we will be reading next month if you wish to purchase it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Beautiful-Purpose-Discovering-Enjoying/dp/0764210661/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395827381&sr=8-1&keywords=your+beautiful+purpose

Mine took AGES to come, so make sure you buy ASAP in time for us to start reading together.

ANYWAY! This month, we will be studying……

ruth 1

RUTH

Since we are different people, I knew that Dani and I would pick up on different moments in the text and those moments would impact us in different ways. For this reason, we have complied both our thoughts on Ruth 1 into one LONG post. It would definitely help if you read the chapters we reference as we went along (coz that’s the whole point but whatever lol).

Dani said:

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth replied, “Stop urging me to abandon you! For wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God. Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I do not keep my promise! Only death will be able to separate me from you!” 

Imagine if we had the same attitude that Ruth had towards Naomi, towards Jesus. With Christ we have assurance of the good things he has in store for us, Jeremiah 29:11 says “For the plans I have for you are good and not evil, plans to bring you to a perfect end”. Imagine being in a place of destituteness and following someone that isn’t even promising that greater things will come. Naomi served the Most High God and Ruth wanted to be close to the person she knew could get her to him. We hear all the time that sometimes we have to take a leap of faith but what Ruth did was more like taking a step off of a multi-storey burning building whilst Orpah chose to wait until the fire brigade came.

In this chapter Ruth teaches us that rationality cannot be relied upon. Being educated to a higher level can result in us believing that we can reason with God in the same way that we reason with others, leading us to debate and sometimes even argue with him. However, you didn’t hear Jesus say ‘but realistically you can’t feed 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fishes’. You didn’t hear Abraham say ‘but isn’t a bit contradictory for you to tell me to kill the very son you prophesied that I would have’. God doesn’t care about what makes sense and neither did Ruth. It doesn’t matter what is logical in a situation;it’s about what’s Jesusical. If we want to live a life that’s spirit lead, that means seeking after the things God wants for us, and following the commands he gives us, regardless of how well they fit into the plan we have for our lives.

Finally we see Ruth shows us that ‘it’s not everyday listen to your friends’. It’s not that Orpah was doing something against God’s will for her life, it’s that God was doing something different in Ruth’s life. You can spend your whole life seeking after your friend’s miracle or your friend’s blessing and completely miss out on what God had planned for you.

He chose you, and only you, to complete the specific plan he created for you. Will you reply to his calling with the words Ruth said to Naomi?

Joy said:

Ruth 1:8, 11-13

But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.” 

The first person in the story that I felt was exemplary was Naomi. Are you surprised? I was. I expected Ruth to jump out at me and captivate my heart. But what about Naomi? Naomi, a woman who lost her husband and her two sons – a woman who lost it all. Being a woman in those days wasn’t easy at all, without a man to protect you, you were vulnerable and at risk. Men were the providers and owners of all property; when the men in her life passed, Naomi was left with nothing.

Despite her bitterness she began to reason with herself. As she travelled back to her place of birth, she decided that her daughter-in-laws should not have to suffer anymore than they already had. Despite her bereaved state and desolation, she put the needs of others first. Naomi could have chosen to make those young women stay with her and alter their lives to suit her needs; both Ruth and Orpah were fiercely loyal and would have stayed if she had requested. Instead she thought of their wellbeing above her own; they say ‘misery loves company’ but Naomi life shows this isn’t necessarily true for everybody.

How do you act when you are in pain? Do you shut down? Do you shout about the place and set your environment on fire with your words? Do you become selfish, only able to see the situation from your perspective? Would you have told those around you to leave you because you knew in your heart that it would benefit them? I began to ask myself how I act when I’m pain. Do I throw my weight around? YES, I do. Not intentionally, I just make those around me uncomfortable because I don’t speak.

Awkward.

Naomi showed me once again there is a better way to live and behave even when your emotions are in turmoil. Growth. We need to grow. Even if we are hurting, that shouldn’t mean that everyone else around us should have to absorb the weight of our pain. Instead we should seek to lighten the load others are carrying, even if we are carrying a greater pain.

Ruth 1:14

And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 

When should we let go and when should we hold on?

Neither Orpah or Ruth could have known what their futures held but they were both were presented with the same choice -to stay or to go. I wrestled with this part of the text for many reasons. Orpah had NO idea what she was about to miss out on and even if she had gone with them, there was only one Boaz! She may have stayed a widow for the rest of her life – no one knows what would have happened if she went with Nai (yes I’ve given her a nickname) but God.

Instinctively, I love Orpah. Orpah followed her gut. What she did made perfect sense given the circumstances – she was a woman and she needed a husband to protect and provide for her. She had already suffered a huge loss; the best thing to do was to go home to her family and figure things out from there. 9/10 of us would have done the same. Even after reading this story, I’m sure some of us will take the path that makes sense before we walk the path that inconveniences us. We will miss out on a blessing because we cannot see the potential in an opportunity because it is dressed as a burden.

When we are unsure, we must look to God before we look within ourselves for answers. Isaiah 30:21 says “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” We need to follow the voice of God before we follow our intuition. You see, the answers that lie within us may cause us to make the wrong choices. Although in that moment the choice could have made perfect sense, our legacy will only reflect a lack of foresight to those that walk after us.

Ruth didn’t know what lay ahead – there’s no way she could have known the blessings that would be heaped on her as a result of her decision to stay with Nai. All she knew was the love that she had for her mother-in-law and that was enough. One decision changed her life forever.

What did I learn from Naomi?

  • Regardless of how I feel, I need to always consider the feelings of others. Even if I am at my lowest point, I can’t act selfishly as this impacts those around me.
  • If someone decides to leave me, God will bring someone who will stay and carry me through the storm.
  • Continue to serve God regardless of how unbearable the situation may be.

What did I learn from Ruth?

  •  I will always have a choice; God will never force my hand.
  • Sometimes opportunities will be dressed as burdens; do not be hasty when making decisions.
  • Look ahead. Current circumstances always give way to future blessings. What I feel is my end may one day be recognised as my beginning.

What did I learn from Orpah?

  • There is a time to walk away.
  • No one knows what the future holds, be patient and prayerful.
  •  When walking away, try not to walk backwards. Move forward into a better beginning.
  • Pray before you stay, pray before you walk – pray before everything.