Broken Vessels

Hello Lovely Family, I know we were supposed to continue with #AQueenlikenoother but circumstances beyond our control did not allow us. God-willing we should continue by next week. However we have this piece for you, do you think you are broken, of no value or use, this is the voice of the Father saying come home my child, you are of value to me. It is our earnest prayers that God stirs in our hearts-yours and ours the desire to know him and serve him better. Now dig in.

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Broken Vessels can still be used

Look at me, I stand, I walk, I fall, I falter. Shunned, derided by the world, no hand to lift me. I lay where I have fallen. They pass, they see me, but no help comes. Leave him there! he deserves it, he thinks he is better than us. They mock me, and I feel pain shoot through like an arrow aimed straight for my heart.

Ignore them you say, they do not matter. Easy for you to say when you are not the object of their mockery. These ones I have called my own, these ones I have called family. She is a shame, cast her away, worthless I have become. My dignity stripped off, my person trampled on. I hide my face in shame, I can no longer hold my head high.

I love you Lord, I really do. I want you Lord; my heart truly yearns for you. The world sways me with its ways. I am pulled in numerous directions. I fight you know I do. I struggle with the desire to fit in, to be the world’s version of ‘normal’.

I fight this urge to give up, to sink into depression. I am broken, tossed by the waves of life. They call themselves Christians, Christ-like yet by their actions they show they are nothing like you. Judging the next person, failing to embrace the other, plucking the speck from another’s eyes while the beam remains in theirs.

I am not like you Lord, I who am born in your image and should walk in your ways do differently. My lifestyle tells a different story, so I am like these Christians I have talked about. My actions show no difference between myself and someone who knows you not.

A broken vessel that’s what I have become. They think me useless, but you can still use me. I am not useless to you, am I? You can take all the broken pieces of me, scattered around the place and make them whole. The cracks cease to show, a whole new creature I become in you. Say the words and I will be healed. I am still useful to you, right?

Broken Crayons can still color they say. Broken Vessels can still be used. Broken vessels can still come to life. Mercy pours out for me, for us, Wholeness in every drop of his precious blood.

Hope in every stripe on his body, life in the death he died. His voice, my shepherd’s voice calling me home. My lover’s voice draws me close. His love holds me fast to him.

I am free from the chains that have held me bound. I am free from the snares of sins and the past. A wretch was what I was, but grace found me. His blood washed me clean, tenderly with love in his eyes, with gentleness in his hands, all my bruises he washed.

I realise now what I am. His treasure, his beloved. He the potter, I the clay, moulded to perfection, perfect for his use. Take this heart of mine, take my failures, weaknesses and excuses and use me as you would. Let me a broken vessel work for you.

Won’t you come home to your love? Don’t you know whose you are? Beautiful, perfect, wonderfully made. You are the beloved of the Father.

See you all next week as we continue with #Aqueenlikenoother and our prayers is that the many lessons God has in store are learnt. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Please don’t forget to drop a comment and also tell a friend to tell a friend to read, share and subscribe. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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WHY MARRY

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Joined together as one

Valentine has come and gone and yes, we know we are late to the party but better late than never. This post has been in the oven since last year and what better time than to share this with all of you than at a time when we are celebrating Love. We have a King and Lord who is the epitome of love, who has paid the eternal sacrifice for us. We are joined to him in an everlasting covenant which is what marriage, a covenant that bonds us together which is why Christ calls us his bride and him the bridegroom. Now we are going to be talking about #WhyMarry and we do not want spoilers so as usually dig in. However it is to be noted that this is a long post as such we crave your indulgence, settle in, get a glass of chilled wine and learn the lessons that are within.

A friend called me and said she wanted me to be a guest writer on her website, I was thrilled. Yea, the ability to reach a wider audience, who turns down such an offer? The next question was what do I write about? First concern: we strictly write on the Christian faith, our journey, the struggles and issues surrounding it and other life issues because that is the route we have decided to channel our gifts and that is the purpose GWA is heading towards. Do I go all religious?  Tone it down a bit? This is almost impossible… how do you tone down purpose! My second concern came after I had gone through the site.  It had a whole lot of varied content though Eva had given me free rein, so I could choose what I wanted to write on.

Fast-forward to a discussion with Zed on a shared interest in BOM (Break or Make up on Instagram) the issue of marriage came up and on and on we discussed, and Zed asked me the question that prompted this post: “Why do you want to get married?”

I went blank, totally speechless. Before now it had never occurred to me that there had to be a reason to get married apart from the obvious ‘we are in love with each other, it is the right thing to do, I am getting older, I am ripe for marriage” (this one makes me laugh) reasons for marriage that we often give. I could have answered any or all the above, but somehow for me the question or answer went beyond the obvious, it called for an inward look as to why I or you or anyone else should consider getting married. This here is an attempt to answer that question.

So, take one minute (or two if you need more) and ask yourself these questions

If you are married:

  • Why did you get married?
  • Why that person? Why not another person?

If you are single:

  • Why do you want to get married?
  • Why this person? Why not the other person asking you to marry him or her?

What answers did you come up with if you are truthful to yourself?

So, we asked some people the same questions on why they want to get married and for the singles these are the commonest reasons:

  • Companionship
  • Raising a family
  • To reduce or erase loneliness
  • Love
  • Increases responsibility

For the married ones, we ask why they were married, and the answers were the same as above with additional insight as to the reasons they knew this was the ’one

  • Sense of belonging
  • Sense of rightness
  • Peace in their heart
  • Someone who understood them, complemented them and brought out the best in them.

And finally, we asked someone who was engaged and about to get married and this was her response: “Well for me, getting married has never been a part of the plan because before now, I never saw the need to but it got to a point in my life when I met someone who loves me more than I love myself, who complements me in all ramifications, someone who sees me way better than I see myself. What I call my flaws are or appear to be strengths to him. With him I soar higher, achieve greater things and find peace. This was tested by ‘time and prayers.’ Then I knew I was ready and would be getting married to him.”

Love, Love and Love seems to be the driving force in a lot of relationships, the one cord that holds the whole, so let’s talk a little bit about love.

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This is what love is!

1st Corinthians 13:4-8 is the perfect base on which to hinge love. Let’s do a simple exercise. First start with yourself, I was reading a tweet yesterday and it said: ‘you keep praying for the right partner, are you a right partner yourself.’ It got me thinking, we, I inclusive keep praying about the right partner but am I the right person, what steps am I taking to make me the right person, are there areas of improvements and am I working on them. Okay back to our exercise; 1st Corinthians 13 talks about the attributes of love, so replace love with your name. So, it should go like this: ‘Helen is patient, Helen is kind…’ so are the qualities present in you, are there attributes you need to imbibe that are currently lacking, you need to be the best person for that best person you are waiting for. Now let’s move to the other person, replace their names with love and ask yourself does he or she possess the attributes of love, since I don’t have a significant other, I would use a unisex name: ‘Tolu is not proud, Tolu is not rude…’

I know, I know Humans are flawed, we are all imperfect but don’t forget that we are all constantly striving towards perfection. You hear them say that Love is not enough, that you need friendship, trust, respect etc. But then what is love? If you love someone shouldn’t you trust them, shouldn’t you respect them, shouldn’t they be your friend, shouldn’t you want the best for them. God loves us and has given us the perfect example of what love should be, He has given us himself and sent his son to die for us.

I love this passage of the Bible 1st John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.” Most times our service to God is one borne out of a fear, not ‘the fear of the Lord’ but a fear of punishment, fear of ending up in hell, we do not love God because we ought to but because we think if we don’t then there is something He would do to us. I often ask God this: ‘Do not let the fear of hell or punishment cause me to love you, stir up in me a desire to love you with all my heart.”

Now that we are on the issue of fear and love, let’s talk to our friends who are in a relationship?

Yes, I know we have put in a lot of exercises, so it doesn’t become boring.

Now ask yourself a couple of questions?

  • Does the relationship leave you constantly afraid?
  • Are you always wondering what next would happen?
  • Are you never sure of where you stand?
  • Are there niggling doubts as to the rightness of your decisions?

Do you know that there is something wrong but live for the Instagram-worthy moments, the admiration of others, the likes and the loves and the comments, the oohs, awwws and the aahs? These moments seem to in our minds make up for the other not-so-good moments, the sometimes-physical abuse, the psychological both emotional, verbal and mental abuse. We pretend that it is a one-off never-to-be-repeated occurrence while we fearfully wait for the other shoe to be dropped. We lose ourselves and our self-esteem in the process, become less of a person because we want so desperately to be married, because time is moving at break-neck speed and we would rather endure a sham called love rather than leave.

The loved-up moments are so sweet and romantic that they leave you breathless, he steals your breath away you say, she will change you console yourself, I will pray, he or she will change for me. My love and constant devotion will make them change, on and on you deceive yourself, you are plagued with doubts. You make yourself a fixer of character, Mr/Miss fixer of human defect is it until your life is stolen that you would make that decision.

Why are you getting married?

Stop, ask yourself why?

  • Because he/she completes you
  • Because he/she gives you joy/happiness
  • Because he/she is your better half, that part that makes the whole come together.
  • To fill a void in your life.

The truth is your happiness does not depend on man, true happiness can only from a life dependent on God, only God can fill the void in your life and make you totally complete. You need to be enough for yourself, it is difficult especially when the pressure gets much, it is easy to just settle because time is passing, and you would rather be married than single.

Social media, music, movies and books seem to help sell the ideal of a love that is unattainable, and we often want to mirror that, and this often leaves us disillusioned when what we see doesn’t match what we get. Only God who is love is the foundation upon which love should be built. Only in him do we find happiness and fulfilment, only in God does everything make sense. You can take him away from your relationship or marriage and expect everything to be fine.

Have we left with you with more questions than answers?

I know, I started this as a means of me answering the question Why do I want to get married. However, it has shown the reasons that should not be the basis for your decision. Marriage is a vocation, one that should not be taken lightly. The wedding day with all the lights and colours is just one day, the marriage is for life. So, your reason for getting married should be clear cut. They say marriage is not in heaven, yet life on earth should prepare you for that. That said any marriage not leading you to heaven should not be something you be headed into. There might not be a loud voice saying to you: “My child stay clear” but there will be signs, that lack of peace that this is the right thing to do.

It is important to state that because you have been in a relationship for so long is still not enough reason to be married if you are not sure that this is the right thing to do. My answers are a mix of everything, the pressure is real, like there are days when I have to literally shut my eyes and ears not to be in that head-space, I want a family, I want love too, I want the companionship, you know that feeling that this person gets you for real, because this is my answer to God’s call on my vocation and because I believe that this is the person helping me in the process of becoming a princess fit for my King and God.  So am I there yet, I am that Miss right, no I am still a work in progress, I still have doubts, I still have fears, there are still questions in my head who would love or want me, would I get married, are my desires valid, are my standards high, am I not getting older and maybe I should lower my standards and the quick stab of envy when someone I know is getting married.

I have learnt so far that when you trust God all things work out in the end, that though the process be long and arduous, his plans as He says are for good and not for evil, to bring me to an expected end so while I am waiting, I am going to enjoy my singlehood, work on myself and be a princess fit for my King and God.

Now it is your turn to answer, WHY DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED?

See you all next week as we continue with #Aqueenlikenoother and our prayers is that the many lessons God has in store are learnt. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Please don’t forget to drop a comment and also tell a friend to tell a friend to read, share and subscribe. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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A Queen like no other…2

I am excited,we are excited to continue #Christianfiction. We said #MondayswithGWA is here to stay. We apologize for not being around last week. I really loving this kick-ass, strong independent queen. We hope and pray that at the end, we are all able to take the lessons to heart and improve on our lives for what is the need if it doesn’t make us better humans. Now let’s dig in.

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I had just completed my compulsory 1-year National Youth Service Corps program when everything changed!

It was during the Usoro Abasi festival, people had come from all over the country to celebrate.  It was a time for all those who were living in the city to return to their roots. We even had foreigners trooping in to be part of the most famous Usoro Abasi festival. That year’s own was bigger than ever, our state was beautifully adorned, everywhere was cleaner than usual, some were fortunate to lease out their homes for some income as the hotels in the city could not contain everyone who came, yes, the crowd was mammoth. Though my uncle and I didn’t partake in the festival because of our beliefs it brought a dash of fresh air. It was interesting to see all these people troop in to the state to witness the festival.

The Usoro Abasi festival is a religious purification ritual and symbolic reenactment of the mysteries of the king yam which is accompanied by thanksgiving offerings performed by the Chief Priest of the town. It was usually held to celebrate the harvest of yam before the new yam could be eaten. It was always a colorful event with masquerades who were said to be ancestral spirit and came to bless the land at this time. It was also a time for purification of the land. It used to amaze me that even Christians partook in this festival and did not see anything wrong in it.

The festival lasted for a month with various activities and smaller festivals like the Ekpo festival and the Usoro Ita festival. At the end of this one-month event everyone dispersed back to their different destinations, but something had happened during this and would bring a change in the palace. At that time all we heard were the rumors surrounding the occurrence but the one thing we knew for sure is that the king and the queen were about to be divorced, and that the queen had left the town immediately after the celebrations! There were speculations, it was a topic for discussion at every gathering. Everyone wondered why the queen left and what must have caused it. The queen always had ideologies and the king tolerated her excesses perhaps because of love, but in their opinion, she went too far this time. She had publicly embarrassed the king, refusing orders and mocking tradition… The town was outraged, and the chiefs frustrated, scared that this new recalcitrant trend would soon become the norm in the town and the wives become uncontrollable. They pressured the king to act fast as such matters could not be left to get “cold”. The judgement was that the King divorce her and she was to be sent packing back to her parents. It was done as quietly as possible and we heard she was lucky, as If it were to be in the olden days she would have been banished to the evil forest. In my opinion, these were all barbaric customs and traditions that needed to be outlawed.

After a few weeks the news died down and the city was back to his quiet self. I wasn’t however bothered by all of these as what was foremost on my mind was getting a job and helping to pull my weight in the house. My beloved uncle was getting old and the thought of him continuing with the menial jobs worried me! Ete mmi would tell me not to worry that Abasi provides for his people. I wanted a job in the city, but I couldn’t imagine leaving my uncle by himself to do all the work. I wanted to be there to take care of him as he had done for me.  I decided to therefore look for a job around whilst my mates went to the big city of Lagos to “hustle” as they say.

I soon got a job in the town’s secondary school. I was advised by many not to take the job as they felt it was fruitless! The students were always failing, they hadn’t recorded a single success in the WAEC exam in years! The school’s glory is dead they told me. You can do better than this, you have so much potentials, how can a first-class graduate be slaving away in Uyo, but i didn’t let that deter me. Ete mmi and I had prayed about this and my uncle was convinced that this was the right thing to do, that I had to take the job. 

I resumed at the Secondary school on a Monday I would never forget. The school was in a sorry state, dilapidated buildings, lackadaisical attitude to work and extreme lack of discipline.  They were short staffed, and I had to often take double or sometimes more subjects as all they had were Corp-members and old teachers. I got to work immediately and went above and beyond in my duty (If I say so myself, lol). This was not the economy I planned to make impact on, however I decided that this was my life and I was going to make the best of it. The new mantra was ‘Excellence’ ensuring that all the students excelled.  The students loved me as I made learning fun and they soon began to do well on their work. I put in the extra work and time, followed up on those that were absent, did after-school lessons and weekend lessons for free so they could catch up as the O’levels exams that were fast approaching.  It was difficult, it was hard work. It sounds very easy to say now and sounds like smooth sailing, but it was a period in my life that made me the person I am now. It molded me into some one strong. The children called me ‘Miss You can, Yes We can’. It was these words that I charged them with every day.  They needed to believe in themselves, that they could do it, that they could make something out of themselves. We prayed, learnt and helped the weaker ones catch up and we had fun, we laughed, we danced, we made the best of the entire situation. The whole town soon knew something different was happening, students were excited, parents doubtful, mockers watchful and I extremely prayerful.

The WAEC exams were drawing near and I had to focus on the SSS3 students as we had a lot to prove. We wrote the exams in May/June and it was then time to await the results, the school was on vacation and so we were all at home. I didn’t stop praying and trusting God. I enlisted the help of those I knew to pray with me. We started a prayer chain and had some praying at every time of the day for 30 minutes. The result was due in September just before schools resumed for the new session and I keenly awaited God to prove himself and allow the efforts of my students bear fruits.

I was at home one day when I heard my neighbors shouting, followed by a knock on my door… well what was left of the door.  I stepped out to see the king’s guards, they claimed they had been ordered to bring me at once.  I could see some of my nosey neighbors grinning wickedly and overheard them saying they knew I would soon get into trouble.  I said a silent word of prayer and followed. We got to the palace and I was surprised to see the school principal and teachers, even some students and almost all the townspeople had gathered! The king cleared his throat and spoke…I was lost in his rich sonorous voice, deep, yet soothing, I glanced at his beautiful face for this was my first time of seeing the king up close. I was away in my final year when his father died and as such didn’t witness his coronation. The king looked me in the eye, his eyes full of mischievous smile and his lips twitched a bit and i realized I had been caught staring. Gracefully he repeated himself, this time not taking his eyes off me.

He said…

See you all next week as we continue this exciting journey and our prayers is that the many lessons God has in store through this story are learnt. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Please don’t forget to drop a comment and also tell a friend to tell a friend to read. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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P.S Any error in the use of language is ours as we tried to get to the best of our abilities the right words to use.