Happy New Month – July

Congratulations on stepping into the second half of this year and my special month – July. In this month & for the rest of the year, doors that appear to be shut shall be opened, paths that appear crooked shall be made straight. Remember that your faith can move movements but doubt can also create them. Unexpected and unexplainable miracles are coming your way. Have a fabulous July!

P.S – I’ll be back with more blog posts once my exam season is over.

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Happy New Month – June

Whatever you’re going through remember that the God you serve is a Way Maker. God didn’t remove the Red Sea He simply made a way where there appeared to be none. So no matter what problem or issue you’re going through or may encounter this month He’ll make a way to get it done, fix it, shift it and turn it around for your good. Have a Jolly June! xx

How to Shaku Shaku in the Storm

Let me start with a Disclaimer: I am not here to actually teach you how to Shaku Shaku. And if you do not know what that is, it’s the latest Nigerian dance style that has stormed the internet over the last few months. In an attempt to jump on this new dance wave I have watched endless YouTube tutorials and music videos, let’s just say there’s a very small glimpse of hope. 😂

If you are a student like myself you are probably in a storm or about to encounter one, and by storm I mean the long-awaited exam season. Stress levels are high, deadlines are fast approaching, exam dates creeping up not so slowly. And for those who aren’t students, I am sure you can agree that there are some storms that you may or may not be currently in. Each gospel has the account of the Jesus calming the storm, here it is in the Gospel of Matthew 8:23-27 :

23 Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Do we sometimes feel as though Jesus is sleeping in the midst of our storms? Whilst the waves were raging Jesus was sleeping!! He was cool, calm & collected. Imagine that. When Jesus wakes up he rebukes their fear and unbelief. That same rebuke may apply to us right now Jesus is asking:  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” When we trust God correctly, there will be very little room left for fear.
The thing with the disciples is that they had reasons to have faith despite the raging sea; they had seen Jesus perform wonders in the past, they had seen people like the Centurion who displayed a big trust in Jesus and most importantly Jesus was on board. It takes great faith to trust that a “sleeping Jesus” cares about us even when he seems very silent. A bible commentator says: “There are many Christians today who seem to think the boat is going down! I am tired of the wailing of some of my friends who take that view. The boat cannot go down. Jesus is on board.” (Morgan)
The boat cannot go down: Jesus is on board.
 Key points to take from this story:
  1. Jesus is Lord over all; He has full authority & power over the circumstances that we face. Jesus appeared to have left them in the midst of their chaos but in reality, he was always with them – the same way he has never left our side.
  2. We Must trust Jesus in the storms of life
    • Storms often reflect our lack of trust in God – Sometimes we need to become weak so that we will learn to rely only on Christ’s strength
    • Not all fear is wrong, however, when our fear is excessive and causes us to panic & not think of God’s control over our problems – it is.
    • If we are so focused on a problem & can’t see God’s control over it, we are not trusting him.
  3. Storms should drive us towards God; One thing I have learnt about the storms of life is that the more we trust Him in our current storm, the more we will know Him and be able to trust Him in the upcoming storms.
  4. Storms hit us unexpectedly and without warning; thus in order to survive we must be prepared in advance. NOW is the time to prepare for the storm, if we don’t learn to trust God in the calm of life we will not be prepared to trust him when the storm hits.

Once upon a while ago, I heard: life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. A bad habit I have adopted whilst at Uni is playing music whilst revising and recently because of this new dance style – Shaku Shaku I find myself getting up every time a suitable song comes up to practice my moves. 😂😂 I’m literally dancing in the storm, my revision (which is driving me crazy) is there but I’m dancing instead.  What am I trying to say? This is the attitude we should have whilst in a storm. The reason we should be able to dance in the rain is that we understand that we have a firm anchor – God. I am reminded of the hymn:

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

So there’s only one main step on how to Shaku Shaku in the storm and that is to anchor our faith in God’s promises and presence. The purpose of an anchor is to prevent the raging waves from smashing the boat into the shore and to stop the boat from drifting or being swept away. And so the same applies to God’s role when we encounter storms, He keeps us sane despite the adversity around us, He gives us serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

Here are some of God’s promises to claim as we encounter storms in our lives:

  • God will keep me in perfect peace because I trust in him and my thoughts are firmly fixed on him. (Isaiah 26:3)
  • When I pass through deep waters, God will be with me, and when I pass the rivers of difficulty, I will not drown. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, the flames shall not consume. (Isaiah 43:2)
  • The Lord’s loving kindness never ceases. I am not consumed, for his compassions never fail and they are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness. The Lord is good to me because I seek Him and my hope is in Him. Therefore I will wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentation 3:21-26)
Fully trusting and relying on God & His promises means that in spite of the circumstances you can dance in the middle of the storm because you know; God will be with you, you will not be consumed, you will not drown and you will come out better and stronger to face the next storm. Faith is not an automatic thing, we must choose to exercise it daily, and sometimes you have to recall previous storms and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. He hasn’t failed you in the past and he would not start now.
So I urge you today to drop your anchor and stand on the Rock of Ageslay a firm foundation in God and His Word and you will be able to Shaku Shaku in the Storm.
To all my fellow students, Go smash those exams and remember the same God that brought you here is still on board with you and will take you even further.
Stay Blessed
Dara xx
P.S: Students check out my previous blog posts for exam season for more encouragement & prayers :When fear creeps in… (for those who become very fearful & anxious during exam season), Do your BEST and He’ll do the REST (has a prayer especially for procrastinators) and Commit it to the Lord (a revision tool that works for EVERY & ANY subject).

Happy New Month – May

In this month May you learn how to embrace every season with grace and gratitude. Because in every season there’s a lesson God’s trying to teach and wants you to learn. May God use what appears to be difficulties to launch you forward in life. Have a lovely May! xx

Sweet and Sour

My favourite cuisine after Nigerian delicacies is Chinese. As a family tradition, when celebrating a birthday it is customary for us to go to our favourite Chinese restaurant. Everyone apart from my dad orders Sweet and Sour Chicken Hong Kong style with egg fried rice or noodles. As the name suggests it has a sweet and sour taste, it is strange to imagine how this would taste having both flavours on the same dish but it’s actually very appetising. I digress…

Over the last month, I would describe my life as a sweet & sour experience; I’ve had moments in which people have upset, annoyed or made me angry, I’ve had unfortunate things happen like breaking my phone again and losing money, but it in the midst of all that I’ve also had sweet moments; going horse riding with my sister, going to the theatre with my friends, useful and educational experiences whilst on placement like getting involved in surgery.

What I found myself doing was focusing more on the sour moments, when the sour things happened it felt as though my whole world was crashing around me, I let it control my emotions and place me in an overall negative state. The more I focused on the negatives the more I spiralled in despair. So one day I decided enough was enough, I gotta start focussing on the more sweeter aspects thus the more I did that the more positive my overall outlook was.

The bible put it simply in Proverbs17:22; A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. It is healthy to be cheerful. A merry heart is as good as medicine. Negative emotions and feelings such as anger, unforgiveness, worry, anxiety, fear, resentment and bitterness cause many physical illnesses by raising our stress levels. When we solely focus on all the negatives our spirit is crushed, we become stressed, overwhelmed and may eventually become ill as a result of emotional fatigue. As you can see there is a relationship between our attitudes and our physical well-being. God doesn’t want us to be a slave to our emotions but when we allow our emotions to rule us we let that happen. In my devotional by Joyce Meyer entitled: Trusting God, she advises us that “to manage [our] emotions and life [we] need to ask God for His wisdom instead of trusting [our] feelings”. The more stable our emotions are the healthier we will be. So, how do we trust God to help us manage our emotions instead of letting our emotions manage us? Below I have explained a practical method I used.

Of course, focusing on the positives may not completely remove the existence of the negatives in our lives so I decided to write a list. If you are like me and love making lists to organise yourself, your life and thoughts you will find this useful. I made a list entitled: Things that are threatening my peace. I wrote the list, prayed over it and ‘put it in God’s hands’. If there were things on the list that had an obvious available solution, I initiated the solution and crossed it off. One thing on my list was that: I kept losing money. This was because I had lost £15 in cash and was so frustrated after my search for it was futile. After writing it on my list, I left it in God’s hands and decided not to let it continue to keep me down. About 2 weeks later (I had forgotten about it by now), I was out for dinner with friends and as I reached to collect my Nandos loyalty card from my purse to my surprise my £15 was folded up behind it. What I thought was lost, was right there underneath my nose, isn’t God great? By leaving it in His hands I saved myself 2 weeks of continued anger and stress. There are still some things on my list but I trust God that gradually these things will eventually be resolved and my peace will be fully restored.

To finish with one of my favourite quotes (I have many favourite quotes haha😂😂):  Those who leave everything in God’s hand will eventually see God’s hand in everything – Anon. Let’s pay attention to the words “Leave” and “eventually“. Often times I am guilty of “leaving” things in God’s hands but then go about worrying about how God will fulfil His promises. 🙅🏾 That wasn’t the deal. By praying to God I am supposed to trust in Him, to rely on Him totally and “eventually” I will see the way He has been working behind the scenes.

When we pray for something we may not get an instant answer but we should trust that God will “eventually” let all things fall into place. He is not deaf to our prayers, not blind to our tears nor silent to our pain. He sees and will deliver. 

Undiluted Points to take away from ‘Sweet & Sour’

  1. There are sweet & sour moments in life but we should not let negative emotions rule us
  2. A cheerful heart is good medicine – positive thinking is the way forward
  3. Cultivate a habit in which you continually and purposefully place & LEAVE things in God’s hands
  4. When you leave everything in God’s hands you will eventually see God’s hands in everything
  5. TRUST TRUST TRUST God’s plan and timetable

Stay Blessed,

Dara xx

P.S Students stay tuned for an Exam Season post that will be coming out soon.

Happy New Month – April

“Coincidentally” April fools aligns with resurrection Sunday this year. Satan has been fooled big time. Because of what Christ did on the Cross we only face the “shadow of death”, death lost its sting. We face the shadow of death because Jesus took the full reality of death in our place. The shadow of a dog can’t bite, the shadow of a sword can’t kill and thus the shadow of death and all the devil throws can’t destroy us. Whatever you may be going through be assured that the victory is already yours. You will have the last laugh! Have an amazing April!

Happy New Month – March

Despite your present circumstances, look to Jesus your shepherd – our very present help in time of need. As the famous Psalm 23 says; “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of evil I will fear no evil for you are with me”. The valley you may currently be going through is not a dwelling place or destination you are merely passing through it. Whilst going through the valley remember that our shepherd’s presence may not eliminate our problems, but his presence eliminates the fear of evil. Don’t let the enemy convince you that you’re alone, because you certainly aren’t.

Have a Marvellous March! xx