Happy New Month – April 

Don’t be in a rush to figure everything out, embrace the unknown and let God surprise you. Eventually everything will make sense, but for now laugh at the confusion and foolishness. Smile through the tears and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason so keep hoping for that season of peace. Have an Amazing April! xx 
P.S – if you do have any prayer requests please free to send them to me via this form here 🙏🏾

What’s LOVE got to do with it? 

Yes, February has passed by along with Valentine’s day and all it’s festivities, but I hope the “love” shared and displayed hasn’t faded either.  In this post I’m going to talk about a 4 letter word that is most important in the life of a Christian. This word isn’t  FAITH or HOPE, I’m sure you could have guessed by the post title – it is LOVE.

You may have come across the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love is greater than both Faith & Hope, really!?   FAITH is the foundation and content of God’s message, HOPE is the attitude and focus, LOVE is action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves. Paul says though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) Having the highest degree of faith without love is nothing. Without love, genuine hope cannot exist. Is it possible to hope (long for or have a desire) for something you don’t love? I don’t think so …  Therefore unless faith and hope are coupled with love they are dead. 

It’s no surprise that love is a keyword in the 2 greatest commandments: Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). I want you to draw close attention to verse 40. What’s love got to do with it? Rather than focusing on all the things we shouldn’t do in the 10 commandments, we should channel our focus onto what we should do. That way we are looking at God’s Laws in a more positive light. I’ve heard some people use the above passage to support the opinion that we are not required to keep the laws of the old testament. However, if we love God we are naturally going to obey the first 4 commandments which deal with God ( vertical relationship). Additionally, the remaining 6 are centred on our relationship with  one another ( horizontal relationship), if we love one another we are going to think twice before stealing, lying or murdering them. As I mentioned earlier the greatest commandments have a central theme. So verse 40 can be read as “All the Law and the Prophets hang on Love”.  Love is the fulfilment of the Law, love enables you to keep the Law.

Horizontal and vertical Love is what the cross is all about. Firstly, you come to the Lord and then you share or display that same love with others. Therefore if you do not have vertical love, you will not be able to display horizontal love. Let me use a song I sung at primary school to explain this concept; Love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more”. You’ll agree with me that you can only give away something that you possess. So, in order to love and be loved completely we need to love ourselves first. In Matt 22:39 Jesus says: You shall love your neighbour as yourself, if a person doesn’t love him/herself, this command amongst all others becomes very difficult to follow.

Then again, you might have self-love but find it extremely difficult to love those neighbours who have carved wounds so deep you think they can’t be healed. You develop love through trial, by surrounding yourself with people that are difficult to love. Falling in love with God for example may not be at first sight, it takes time. The love you have for God develops through strain and the trials of life, if we persevere real love muscles eventually develop.

So I ask again what’s love got to do with it?

At the centre of Christianity is love, the greatest sacrifice in history was done because of Love. Love is a practice that our Saviour embodied. Through love we may do good deeds, care for our bodies and possess a desire to help humanity. Love involves unselfish service to others.  If our lives are full of quick-fix, feel good approaches to our fellow humans instead of intentional and purposeful responses to God’s unselfish love, we have failed to understand the meaning of the gospel. God’s love is evident throughout the bible, it governs the actions and decisions He made and continues to make. And finally, God is love

No matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I am bankrupt without love.

I love this song called “The Proof of Love” by King & Country, please listen to and meditate on the lyrics.

Stay blessed,

Dara xx

Happy New Month – March

Regardless of what lies ahead of you this month, be rest assured that God is already there. I declare that God has gone before you this March, He is making every crooked path before you straight, He is also protecting you from behind so you will not be attacked by things that have happened in the past. Have a marvellous March! xx

Happy New Month – February 

In this month, Turn your Worries into Prayers. Then watch your Prayer Requests turn into Praise Reports. Prayer is that bridge from your mess to God’s Rest. Have a Fabulous February. xx
P.S – if you do have any prayer requests please free to send them to me via this form here  🙏🏾

A Year Without Ls?

Happy New Year!

It’s that time of the year when resolutions, plans & goals for the year are being made and also a time when some resolutions have already been broken. I am not here to suggest more resolutions for your list but I wanted to give some food for thought as we begin 2017, by reflecting on an experience I had in the last days of 2016.

Since the start of 2016 my family had planned to travel to Nigeria for the Christmas break and so by mid 2016 half of the ticket fare had already been paid. As the days drew nearer, the excitement grew more and more, it had been ages since we had all travelled as a family. The day of our departure arrived, we woke up early and got to the airport in good timing in order to check in and collect our boarding passes. To our shock the man behind the counter told us we could not check in until we contacted our Travel Agency as something was not right with our tickets. This was far from what we expected, to cut the long story short we sat and watched our 9:44am plane to Lagos, Nigeria fly out of Heathrow. Despite all our planning and praying something had gone “wrong” and was out of our control. It was not until we were all back in our house later that afternoon we realised what had really happened. We were not in Nigeria and we were really uncertain about the possibilities of getting another ticket / flight to Nigeria. My mum said I understand how those in 1844 must have felt. 😭😂😂 This was a perfect phrase to explain how disappointed we all were.(For those who don’t know 1844 was when seventh day Adventist Christians predicted / expected  the 2nd coming of Jesus, but to their great disappointment he didn’t.) For the rest of that day we were pretty much silent while we moped around. The next day: Tuesday, we didn’t have a confirmation from the travel agency about tickets to travel so we sat at home. After a while my mum said even though we’ve been disappointed we have to somewhat carry on with our lives instead of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. That evening we watched 2 movies together as a family and laughed around. Despite our predicament we enjoyed the family time we had because we are not all usually at home at the same time (apart from Sabbath’s when I’m back from Uni). Unaware of what was still to come, we laughed, shared stories and relaxed. Very late on Friday evening, we got a confirmation from our travel agent that we would be able to fly on Saturday evening and arrive in Abuja on Christmas morning. Wow? This was not what we expected, we were eventually going to travel to Nigeria, and now we had the extra opportunity of travelling to Lagos via Abuja (a place I had never been to). The excitement kicked in and to cut the long story short we went to Nigeria and spent  the festive period with families and friends. For those of you who have me on social media (especially snapchat), you could tell I had a blast!

So what am I trying  to say? Yes we may have disappointments thrown at us but it is important to view them as positive experiences. Towards the middle to end of last year, all I seemed to see on social media were people talking about Ls ( Losses) which could have been financial, emotional, social, academical, related to friendships etc. you name it.  For example, my family not being able to travel to Nigeria on that day was a major L. It’s perfectly valid for these Ls to be seen as negatives, setbacks and disappointments so it makes sense for people to be determined that in 2017 they will not be collecting Ls.  However from my experience that I described above I learnt that even though we do have these setbacks and disappointments our responses to them are very important. My family and I could have spent those extra 6 days at home, feeling low, sitting in our rooms and not talking to each other. But we didn’t; we took advantage of the situation and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Every cloudy experience in our lives has a silver lining. I never really understood the phrase silver lining, but now I have a new light to its meaning. Cloudy experiences which we don’t understand are bound to happen, things we don’t like or didn’t plan but if we stay alert and optimistic we will be able to see the blessing that has been disguised into that experience. If we get bogged down on how bad the experience is we will not be able to receive the blessing. At first it can be really difficult to understand how an L could be a positive thing but if we believe that all things work together for those who Love God (Rom 8:28); we will understand that some of those Ls are a display of God’s Love. Then we will truly understand that Every Disappointment is an Appointment with God. 

So in this New Year, I urge you don’t count your Ls (setbacks, disappointments and Losses), Pray that God will use those experiences to display His Love towards you and eventually make things work together for your good.

Even if sickness may be an L I collect,

I know that: The Lord will restore my health and heal my wounds. When I come to him he will give me rest. He will save me from my distress.

 Even if I may collect academic Ls,

I know that: He will make a way where there seems to be no way. When I ask God for wisdom, he will generously give it to me without finding fault. He shall grant me favour with my examiners, lecturers and peers.

Even if I may collect financial Ls,

I know that: God will meet all my needs according to the riches of His glory. He is also able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think. Because I seek the Lord I shall not lack good things.

Even if I may collect Ls from relationships with friends or family,

I know that: God will give me peace that passes all understanding. He will give me insight and direction in order to make the right decisions. The Lord will help me see my blessings in disguise. 

 Finally, to answer the question posed in the title: this year may not be free of Ls but it certainly isn’t God free.  Even though we may receive what seem like Major Ls, sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough. Pay attention to how God turns what seem like Major Ls into Ws ( Wins)

Wishing you a glorious & blessed year,

Dara x

P.S – Don’t forget to send your prayer requests on the prayer request form here.

Shoutout to my mood board 👊🏾

Count your blessings

Yes it’s not thanksgiving but Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of the year we should be thankful of God’s Faithfulness. 1 Thessalonians reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances however since we are near the end of yet another year, it’s only right to remember and celebrate God’s faithfulness.

An old song I’ve always sang since I was little goes like this “Count your blessings name them one by one. Count your blessings see what God has done. Count your blessings. Name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Only when we go back and specifically name each thing God has done in our lives and those around us can we truly be able to appreciate his faithfulness.

Since I resumed Uni in September there have been many things that elicited stress (who knew renting a house could be so problematic?). As a result my housemate and I found ourselves in a spiral of  never-ending complaints. Before we knew it talking  about our problems became one of our greatest addiction. Not too long after we both decided to break the habit and talk about our joys instead. Counting our joys helped us remember that despite the fact that things were not necessarily going “right” there were still ways in which God had been faithful to us. And long before we knew it the things we had previously complained about started to straighten out.

The amazing thing about God’s faithfulness is that it never runs out. “GOD ’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is [his] faithfulness!” Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬
Last year I did a shout out to God, and so it’s only right to do a quick sum up for this year. 

In January, myself and my friends were struggling with finding a house for 2nd year and eventually after loads of prayers & many house viewings we got one.

In February, I prayed for myself and other friends who had exams, deadlines & interviews and God came through for them individually.

In March, I was especially thankful for the life of my mother as we remembered all mothers. My prayer for them still stands : May they reap the fruits of their labour.

In April, I was eventually able to complete an assignment that was giving me sooo much headache. Thank God.

By May, I had started another 4 week block of hospital placement. Thanks be to God I didn’t faint like I had done previously and the teaching was amazing. I also found out that I received a distinction in an assignment I’d submitted earlier 💃🏾🙌🏾

Jumping to June, exam season 😳! Well thanks to God I survived it, very intense exams. But through it all June 8th came and I had completed 20% of med school.

July came round and I was thankful for the gift of life as I turned a year older while celebrating in Cornwall with old and new friends. I was truly able to appreciate God’s creation. 😍😍

August, was a month filled with more exams which was not my intention. Instead of enjoying all of my summer a chunk of it was once again dedicated to exam preparation 🙃 This was by far the hardest month of the year for me; I was tested both mentally and spiritually. Having said that I enjoy experiences like this because of the lessons I come out with – Amidst the storms of life it’s important to keep your eyes focused on God. 

September, I passed all the exams I sat in August. Which meant a variety of things, for one I was going to start Year 2 Medical school in a couple of weeks. And secondly, I was finally going to become a British citizen 🙌🏾 🇬🇧

In October, back into the groove of Uni; lectures, placement and living off campus. I was honestly lacking a lot of motivation and confidence but with heaps of prayer, stirring by the Holy Spirit and encouraging words I regained all I lacked and was starting to get all my work done more efficiently.

November came round quickly, and I must mention how grateful I am for my  friends and family because burdens are lighter when you share them. 🙏🏾 Had my Citizenship Ceremony and now I’m officially British. 💃🏾 The hassle of living with no heating and hot water caused me more stress than my course but eventually it was all sorted  out. Great is God’s faithfulness! 

As I write this post in the month of December, there are a number of things coming up – I’ve got an exam, submission deadlines to meet and some travelling. But I’m rest assured that my God who has been with me this far will not abandon me. 🙏🏾

So there we have it, 12 months of Thanks/Blessings. Go through your year and count up all the blessings God has granted onto you. I’m sure you’ll agree: God has been Faithful.

Wishing you all a Merry Festive season and I’ll be writing to you again in the New Year!
Stay Blessed,

Dara xx

Stay High

High can be used to describe the feeling people get after smoking cannabis (weed). But I want to give a Quick disclaimer I’m not advising that everyone goes and gets high on drugs 😂😂 but there’s a different kind of High I want you to have perpetually.

Once again the words from Jonathan McReynold’s song: Stay High;

You can’t catch a bird while it’s flying in the air

No, you gotta wait till it comes to the ground

And you can’t stop a saint while they’re in full flight

No, the devil’s gotta wait till we come down

So I’ll Stay High,

I ain’t coming down for no reason, I’ll be reading my word,

I ain’t coming down for no satan, I’ll be praying to my Lord,

I ain’t coming down for no sinning, while I’m living for my God,

I ain’t coming down for nobody, no I’ll just Stay High

High High High

I really love the words to this song, I’ve inserted the full song below for you to listen to after.

An important phrase that stuck with me is “You can’t stop a Saint while they’re in full flight”,  later on in the song Jonathan says “We’ve all got targets on our backs”As Christians endeavouring to live a life worthy enough to be called children of God, we acquire an enemy :  The devil.  The devil has set targets on our back and will not allow us to rest, the scripture reminds us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) 

Although Lions are believed to be the King of the jungle, they are by no means the best hunters. I’m sure at one point you’ve watched a nature programme in which a Lion is chasing after it’s prey. Lions tend to attack sick, young or straggling animals; their victims are the animals who are either alone or not alertSo what does this mean for you and me, Peter warns us to watch out for the devil when we are suffering, low, “down in the dumps”, or persecuted. If you are feeling alone, weak, helpless and cut off from other believers or if you are one of those people that are so focused on their troubles that you forget to watch out for danger you are especially vulnerable to the devil’s attacks. He will set a target on you as his next prey. During the times of suffering it is vital to seek other Christians for support. The Word says “Keep your eye on Christ, and resist the devil. Then he will flee from you”(James 4:7)

So back to the lyrics of the song. A bird cannot be caught while it is in the sky, the hunter needs to shoot it before it can be caught on ground. Similarly, as a christian being in a high position is essential to being out of Satan’s reach.  Of course it’s impossible for us as humans to be physically in the air but we can be in a High state. This state involves being positive, full of hope, it is a euphoric state induced not by alcohol or drugs but by keeping our focus on Christ.

There are 3 ways in which we can Stay High:

  1. Reading the Word
  2. Praying to our Lord
  3. Living for God

In the midst of our personal storms, we eventually come to the realisation that God is our only Salvation. The Psalmist reminds us that those who hope in the Lord will be strengthened and Isaiah tells us that our strength will be renewed. [We] shall sour on wings like eagles, {We will] run and not grow weary, [We will] walk and not feel faint ( 40:31)  Let’s put it all together now, In order to Stay High we need to remain strengthened because that’s how we will sour like eagles and remain out of satan’s reach.

Hope : a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

Waiting upon the Lord is expecting His promised strength to help us rise above life’s distractions and difficulties [aka Stay High]. Listening attentively to God by reading His Word helps us to be ready for times when He speaks to us, be patient when He asks us to wait and trust Him to fulfil the promises found in His Word. Satan only tries to distract us from this Hope in order to knock us down and out.

I pray that your strength shall be continually renewed as you hope in the Lord. May the Lord show himself onto you in a way he has never done before, and despite the distractions in life you will always remember to Stay High out of the Devil’s reach.

Stay Blessed and enjoy the song below,

Dara xx

P.S – Feel free to send in your prayer requests via this online form and I shall keep you in my prayers