Easter! What Comes To Your Mind?

Easter! What Comes To Your Mind?

What comes to mind when you think of Easter?

When I think of Easter, I think of…
An incomparable exchange
I think the greatest interception of all times
I think the life of One for All; the blood of the Master for the slaves
I think the celebration of the life we have received.

You see, indomitable kingdoms have reigned
Lionhearted men have stomped territories
Impressive orators have led revolutions
And humanitarian leaders have dazzled the face of the earth
Yet none surrendered themselves

Unimaginable would a king ever surrender the heir to the throne
Unfathomable would the mighty lay down the sword —for the feeble
Unheard of, would the innocent die for the guilty
Still, only Him dared

He is…Unmatched in His giving and unequalled in His love
Unbeatable in might and unassailable in splendour

The only saviour and Lord who rules and reigns forever
Willingly surrendered Himself on the cross

At Easter, I recall that Jesus died so that we may live our lives to the very fullest.
I’m reminded that…Of His fullness we all have received —grace, strength, wisdom, ability, and boldness —grace heaped upon grace. (John 1:16)

Think about it! That from the very source of life Himself, the very spring of wisdom, forgiveness, creativity, inspiration; we have direct access to firsthand grace, forgiveness, wisdom, inspiration… Isn’t that amazing?

And that our dreams remain not only dreams.

But dreams now morphing into wellsprings, bringing hope, nourishment, and healing to the nations.

When I think Easter, I think of life, resurrection, and hope; I think of dreams coming to life again.
And in speaking of dreams, I am beyond elated to share a release of my debut, a song the Lord put in my mouth.  To be released on Easter Sunday. God is greatly to be praised Indeed.

Please stay tuned!

Check out the video clip here

Hef-zibah’s Story—My 18 Days Battle Continued.

Hef-zibah’s Story—My 18 Days Battle Continued.

You know the saying that you don’t know what you have until it is missing. Well, I then knew that I had a fantastic marriage. Regretfully, I started recalling the trivial things that I’d previously gotten angry over. Like hubby playing video games. If only my husband were here playing video games. I reminisced about my husband’s relentless encouragement. He would often say, Write new songs, practice your guitar, practice your singing, get better. Now, I tried to do those things, but he wasn’t here to see me.

 

Despite all, Lola wouldn’t give up on me. She called me every day for 18 days straight. Every midnight she would call me, and we would pray for hours, each time persuading me to actively participate. My brother-in-law also came through for me. I was stymied in visiting my husband at the hospital, but my brother-in-law would occasionally visit. One time, he put through an audio call where we got the whole family to speak with hubby. And when it got to my turn, I started singing. Slowly and gradually, my husband started to move. He wiggled his toes and finally opened his eyes. The nurse rushed in to check if everything was fine. She stood in amazement. she said, “Do you know how many drugs we have used to sedate him?” She wasn’t expecting him to wake up quite yet. We have used three (3) different sedatives to knock him out, the nurse pointed out. “If he is responding this good, maybe in two or three days he’ll be out of here”. And with that slender glimmer of hope, my heart was strengthened.

 

I hear a different story. Only two days later, the hospital notified me that my husband had gotten worse. I don’t get it. “Are you people conducting an experiment with my husband?” I raged. There is a different thing attacking the lungs, the doctor answered. It’s bacteria; He’s having pneumonia. I wondered what they were doing there at the hospital. How can we bring a patient to the hospital, and he’s getting worse? This is nonsense! “I hollered at my brother-in-law in frustration. I was upset.

 

The next time the doctor called me, I demanded to know what they were doing to my husband. Oh, we ran a test, the doctor replied. “He has a strong cough, which is good, but it is not good for the machine. He is fighting the machine, so he needs to relax”. “Give me the names of the drugs” I insisted as if I knew all about drugs. “I got the names and began researching drugs used on COVID patients.

The hospitals were swamped. On Saturday when my brother-in-law went to visit hubby at Peter Lougheed hospital, the previous one-to-one 1:1 patient/ nurse arrangement had suddenly turned to one nurse to three patients. Next, I hear that they’ve moved my husband to Foothills, the hospital that I initially wanted him taken to. But no one informed me before they moved him. Upon that, they wouldn’t let me see my husband and it is one week now.

At Foothills, the nurse called me as the next of kin with surprise news. She told me they had iPads that patients could use to talk to relatives. I still couldn’t visit – except it was the end of life. I was elated.  I was overjoyed to see my husband ‘virtually’ for the first time after a time that seemed like forever. My husband could barely keep his eyes open when I saw him. He heard my voice and opened it before shutting them again.   ‘’ His lips were as dry as the desert. However, the nurse assured me she’ll take care of him here. I spoke and sang to him for about 30 mins to 1 hour. With the many requests from family, in the following days, we set up a video call with our extended family from Canada, the US, and Nigeria. We all saw him, oh what a heartwarming time!

I received a new report on Tuesday: He might have caught a bug. My husband’s eyes were entirely red-shot. ‘’What is this, how did this happen?” I questioned. The Nurse wasn’t sure.  The nurse thought it might have to do with the move. “I need to speak to a doctor” I demanded. I just want to let you know your husband is doing well. The doctor tried to console me. But the nurse just told me otherwise.  “What is happening there?” I fumed. Oh no, he said, “Looking at it from all his charts, I am telling you he is doing well. We are looking for ways to get him out of Coma. “I need to know the truth, is he doing better or worse?”. My heart was begging for answers.

 

That evening the nurse called me back. Possibly scolded for giving me that information, he said the test came back. My husband did not catch any bug and he’s even virus-free. “You mean, no more COVID virus?” Yeah! Hallelujah! I screamed in excitement. “Can you make an exemption for me to visit now?” I inquired excitedly.  Since my quarantine would end the next day, the nurse said I could come that day. I took that invitation with a grain of salt. I reasoned, why were they suddenly asking me to come? Perhaps it was the end of my husband’s life, and this may be a trick to lure me in to see him. I was afraid.  The doctor called me the following day, reiterating their exception for me to come to visit. Now, aghast, I wondered If I could get myself to visit the hospital.  I eventually summoned the courage to go see my husband that fateful Wednesday. I walked past a room – covered with a transparent curtain- and I couldn’t even recognize my husband’s frame. He was semi-conscious with very many tubes, and wires connected all around him.

 

When I asked to speak to a doctor that Wednesday, I got to speak with a resident doctor since most doctors had left for the day. I asked about the condition of hubby’s health and if there were any hopes of us leaving soon?  The resident doctor said that many patients get to stay in the hospital for three (3) months “What three months?” I lashed out.  I rejected that prophecy. At the hospital that Wednesday evening, however, I was asked to come the next morning if I wanted to see the head doctor. Meanwhile, I and Lola had been praying that my husband would come out, as in, walk out the door by his birthday, Friday just 2 days away. Lola would ask me to point to the door. We prayed that the Lord would order his angels to get him out of the hospital. We said you will walk through this door; you will come back for your birthday.

Thursday was the last day the head doctor watching over my husband since arriving Foothills would be around, so that would be the last chance to see him.  My request was “Please Lord, bring him out of COVID. Eventually, they opened visitation to me from 9 am to 9 pm. Another friend reminded me that there was Wi-Fi at the hospital, and I could work from there since I was working from home. I jumped at that idea. Then there’ll be no excuse not to visit.  I packed my things and left for the hospital. About shortly past 9 am that Thursday morning I was at the hospital, waiting for the doctor to do his rounds. The rounds were delayed. Finally, at 12:00 noon I got to talk to the Doctor.

 

Yet another conflicting report. This time the respiratory therapist informed me that they needed to take my husband off the ventilator, however, the doctor tells me something different.  I felt lied to, so I called my friend in Nigeria. I complained, the doctor says this, and the nurse says this, whose report should I believe?” We shall believe the report of the Lord”. My friend thundered. “His report says your husband is healed; His report says he is well.” Before the doctor came in that day, the respiratory therapist said they tried lowering the ventilator support for my husband, but then he started to cough.  I begged the respiratory therapist to test my husband again, “I’m sure, he will do well”. Well, immediately after the first test, the nurse insisted they change his position.’’ The moment they changed his position, my husband reacted.  His BP started rising and thus they halted the test.

During the rounds later that afternoon, the respiratory therapist reported that they tried to do the test this morning, but he didn’t do well. The doctor said it wasn’t ethical to keep his mouth open for more than 12 days. Seeing that my husband had passed that mark, they planned to do surgery (incision to his throat) the next day. ‘’ Tomorrow is his birthday! It is not the day to cut anybody’s throat’’ I lamented. Then the doctor remarked that I ought to be grateful my husband was still alive as many had died in this situation.

On my way to the hospital Friday the next day, I called the nurse to inform her that I was on my way. She replied, “Just come, nothing is happening for Him today “. In my mind, I said it is a lie. That morning, on Cover2Cover we read of the children of Israel, finally leaving Egypt and I felt that was a sign. Today is his birthday. Something will happen. Surprisingly that Friday on his birthday, a new doctor arrived. This doctor, Dr. Chip was sent from heaven. The doctor empathized, “What can a hospital give to a man on his birthday? Let us try to bring him out of the coma”. There were some hesitations with the new respiratory therapist. However, she later obliged. Anyway, long story short. They planned to do one test. And if he breathes by himself in the three (3) hour test period without any help from the ventilator, they’ll take him out of the coma. Then I asked the respiratory therapist, “What are you looking out for?” “His oxygen needs to be at 96 /94 without the support of the machine.” Right away, this became our new prayer point

Instantly, I sent out words to friends to please pray for my husband ‘’ They are running a test. Please pray, so that they can bring him out today”. In that whirlwind of medical activities, I paced to my husband and held his hands. I whispered to him saying, “You have to relax. Breathe and pass this test, so we can go home. Ok?” He nodded—he could communicate by nodding, blinking, or wiggling his toes.

 

Meanwhile that day, I asked my husband if we should release or pause the song we had previously planned to release on his birthday— I could only ask yes/no questions. The song was a thanksgiving song ‘Exceeding Grace’, I personally thought we should wait until everything was ok.  He gestured that we should carry on with releasing the song. “How will we be praising and singing to God when we were still in the middle of this storm?” It didn’t add up. Anyway, by faith, we released the song.

 

I thank God for the new doctor. He did a great job defending us. I kept watching my husband’s oxygen during the test. After about two hours, I heard the respiratory therapist speaking with the doctor, outside. Saying, he is not doing well. The doctor told her don’t worry. Go ahead and do it. At worst, you will put him back into a coma. Then she complained again saying, it’s usually hard to put a patient back into a coma. “How did you put him in a coma at first? Did he give a problem when he was out at first?” The doctor asked.  She now said no. He didn’t really give many problems. I kept wondering, “Why are they saying the numbers aren’t good. The number seemed fine to me. He was breathing at the 96 mark the respiratory therapist mentioned. It was then that the nurse revealed to me that there were other numbers being looked at. They looked at how deep of a breath, and how long he was breathing for. With the doctor’s order to go ahead, they proceeded to take him out of the coma. At that same instant, a pastor, Rev. Chris Delvan from Kaduna State in Nigeria called my phone.

 

‘’I heard your husband is at the hospital, is he there with you? ‘’ I answered yes. He ordered me to hold his hands. He began to pray. He prayed, declaring that every chain of darkness be taken off him now. Almost at the same time, right before my eyes, all the cords, and tubes that had been wound all over his neck and body were being removed.  The pastor continued” We lose everything off his body. They were now removing the gigantic balloons that they put in his throat. Everything! Ah, it was like deliverance! The respiratory therapist then asked, can you open your eyes? He opened his eyes. Can you say something? In fact, before the completion of the sentence. He screamed “Aaaahhhh”. she asked can you talk to us; He said in a croaky and hoarse voice “Hello”. But that voice was music to my ears. The most beautiful thing I had heard. Before we knew it, my husband’s phone started ringing. Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday. The breathing continued. By the grace of God, he could sustain himself without the ventilator. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Praise … the Lord! Hallelujah.

True to Genesis 50:20: As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this…to preserve the lives of many people.” To God be all the glory! Oh, what a merciful God we serve!

 

Man is prone to error but God does not make mistakes; he will hold fast to His promises. Let’s search them out and use them as keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to petition for the miracles Christ wants to give you and receive them with Thankfulness!

Here are Some of My Takeaways.

Takeaway #1 Praise works wonders

Takeaway #2: Carefully choose your inner circle who can pray with you through a storm

Takeaway #3: God is real, His miracles are real, and His love and mercy are most real!

Takeaway #4Even though he was still in a coma, my husband said let us praise God. Even though we had not seen everything we wanted, he said let us praise God. That is faith

Takeaway #5: Don’t station your faith in God based on the pain and distress of the moment, anchor your faith on the unchanging, inerrant word of God. And locate people who will remind you when you’re swamped in your troubles.

Takeaway #6: Choosing to continue doing what God instructs us even when it bites is proof of our faith in God.

Indeed, I will exalt you, Lord,  for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help,  and you healed me.

 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you, his faithful people; praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:1-5)

 

Hef-zibah’s Story—My 18 Days Battle Continued.

Hef-zibah’s Story—My 18 Days Battle

It all started in January 2020, right after the cheer of Christmas and the new year. That cold winter day in January, my husband, a loving, decorous, and otherwise healthy husband left for work. The day was like other days. The only difference was that they announced in his office that day, that someone was sick and so everyone including my husband, had to take a COVID test. Two (2) days later, the result came out and my husband broke the unexpected news to me that he tested positive. I paused in shock for a moment. “But you are very healthy and there’s nothing wrong with you” I protested. “How can that be?” I asked incredulously. I assured myself that the hospital must have mixed up the results. I didn’t like the sound of this, but it wasn’t something we couldn’t handle. Maybe my husband was just asymptomatic.

In the days that would follow, my husband started showing flu-like symptoms. Since it was just like the flu, I began giving him juice from the native concoctions of ginger, lemon, garlic, and all sorts. Then, almost like the attack of an armed band, my husband’s health took a severe hit —He got weak, incessantly coughing, and had lots of hiccups interrupting his speech. He started talking like actors in the movies when on their deathbed.

About, two (2) weeks before my husband went for the COVID test; precisely on January 2nd, 2020, the Lord laid in my heart to go through the Bible in a year on YouTube. We call it Cover2Cover. During the study of the Bible character – Job, I had a vivid dream about an evil eye that set out to attack me so that what happened to Job—he lost his possessions—would happen to me. As a result, I planned to make Cover2Cover private but was dissuaded by my husband. “This is God’s work” he interjected, “It needs to go to the ends of the World”. About 2 days after this dream I woke up in the middle of the night to a dark foreboding that my husband was in danger. It was after this dream that his office requested the mandatory test.

I tried anything and everything. While hubby’s health plummeted, I administered my husband the native mixture, and I would have him confess that he would live and not die. I was praying, screaming, crying, pleading, begging—whatever it took. One day, I rolled on the floor, pleading, ‘’Lord, heal my husband! This is not the way to treat people that serve you’’. All day, my husband would sit on the couch, looking up to the roof, and shaking. All attempts to feed or give him water failed. He would stare at me but wouldn’t seem to see me. I was clueless, confused, disoriented, and terrified. One moment he seemed aware of his surroundings, and the next he wasn’t. It got to where his favourite Kirk Franklin songs were a mere nuisance to him. His favourite psalms were no help either. My man’s health spiralled downwards with each passing moment, and I was petrified. So, I did the only next thing.

I made a panic call to our family doctor. The doctor faxed the prescription directly to the pharmacist since I had been exposed and needed to isolate. After receiving the prescription, I hurriedly dispensed two (2) tablets of codeine to my husband as prescribed. My husband slept off immediately like a sleep-deprived child. ‘’ Ah! What a relief! I announced to myself. Finally, I get to rest’’. He slept deep and long. When my husband woke up, he wasn’t only drenched in a cold sweat, but he also woke up a total stranger.

Hubby started acting strange. Next, my husband began hallucinating. He was all shaky and jittery and would fling food off my hand in my attempt to feed him. My heart sank at his cold-eyed stares at me. It frightened me seeing my husband fidgeting, wildly looking around as if he was in a strange place, with incessant painful coughing. The next day, I repeated the same dosage, thinking that he will feel better with more pills.  No, the illness did not subside. Things got worse, and I couldn’t think right.

How could I tell when it was the drugs or my husband speaking? One of those days, hubby dashed into the studio —where I host my morning ‘Cover2Cover’ bible study program— like someone who’ had lost his mind. He rushed in, screaming “Help me, help me!” oh how my heart was crushed at that sight. I abruptly ended the program to attend to my beloved husband. “Can I put my head on your lap?” He cried. When I saw how terrible my husband was looking, I announced to him that I was going to call 911 and they may take him to the hospital.  “Please don’t let them take me. I want to be with you” He pleaded. I wasn’t sure if it was the drug or my husband speaking. One thing I knew though was that whatever we were drinking wasn’t working.

That Saturday night was the scariest. As his wife, I made the executive decision to flout all COVID rules. The rules advised that my husband must sleep in a separate room, not share the same space as me, must not maintain physical contact with him, and required me to pass his meals off to him. It was now obvious that the more I stayed apart from my husband the worse things got. Hence, that night, I packed back into our room. My husband was restless the entire night. No sleeping posture seemed comfortable. We eventually made it through the next morning, but hubby was very weak and unable to stand.  I gave him a warm bath where he soaked up the warm water for about fifteen minutes. That was when I noticed he was coughing blood!

I immediately sent the picture of the blood to our family doctor ‘’I think the dosage isn’t good for my husband,’’ I complained. This was when the doctor revealed that he prescribed 1 – 2 tablets as needed and not the 2 tablets twice daily as received from the pharmacist. This meant he could take 1 tablet in a day or 1 in two days as required. So, I have been giving my husband the wrong dosage all along. I wondered.  ‘’You have given him 4 already today?’’ the doctor interrupted my thought.  ‘’Yes, because the prescription I received said two tablets twice daily,’’ I retorted. ‘’ Do not give him anymore’’. The doctor blurted. After the doctor received and saw his requested cough sample — filled with blood, he asked me to quickly call the ambulance.

When the blaring siren eventually stopped outside my house, I ambled up to the door to let them in. The ambulance team, a female and a male paramedic trotted into the house. ” It is not everybody we attend to because of COVID” The female paramedic announced to me. Next, she bent over to check my husband’s pulse and oxygen level. She observed that his oxygen level was 50 whereas a normal oxygen level is about 97 and above. She summoned her colleague to pass her the oxygen tank. “Do not move sir” She instructed while inserting the oxygen tank into my husband’s nose. They let the reading increase to about 57 before they quit monitoring. “If the oxygen doesn’t go around his body, his organs will start shutting down”. The female paramedic informed me, lifting her eyes to me. I watched, quivering.

They took my husband away from me. The paramedics now informed me they would drive my husband to the hospital, and I couldn’t come along since I had been exposed. “Can you please take him to Foothill’s hospital? ‘’ I implored. “No!” the lady paramedic replied curtly, “We will take him to the nearest hospital and Foothills is not the nearest hospital, we are taking him to Peter Lougheed”. My spirit was very much against the Peter Lougheed Hospital. That I would surrender my husband to total strangers unsettled me. “Will they take care of him properly?”. I already had my preconceived notions about this pandemic. Everything was so emotional for me. However, my husband was brave. He tried to look his best and managed to walk himself to the ambulance. I painfully watched as the paramedics whisked my husband off to the hospital.

The moment they left, I cried and cried. My heart was breaking. “I hope I’ll see my husband again” I pleaded with God, “O God! What did we do? Did it have to come to this?” This shattered my heart in pieces, and I felt all alone.I couldn’t hold myself, so I defied the paramedic’s stern warning to not call until after two hours. After about an hour, I rang my husband, but there was no answer. It was a Sunday morning and since I couldn’t leave the house, I had ample time to cry.  I prayed and cried my eyes out. I was devastated and troubled, so I started making calls to close friends and family members. First, I called my mum and mother-in-law in Nigeria. My mother-in-law was as calm as the smoothest waters. I kept trying to reach my husband, but all my calls met dead silence. I felt panic setting in as I wondered what was going on at the hospital. “I needed to be there”.

In that frustration and sensations of overwhelm, I called a friend, Lola, in Nigeria. Not entirely sure why I did but hmm, Lola was divinely appointed for that time.  she reminded me “You are a worship minister; this is the time to do your ministry”.  “Ok, start singing” Lola persuaded. But there was no song in me. I was in the pit of despair, the darkest and deepest part of it’’ I muttered up a song. A lifeless song on my lips. There was no life or heart as I sang: “Glory be to God in the highest, Amen for His mercies endureth forever Amen” Lola yelled through the phone, “Are you sitting down? Stand up! dance! praise God. Louder! I’m not hearing you!” She kept stimulating me.   Lola stayed with me on the phone, praying fervently with me for an hour.

As if in answer to our heartfelt prayers, my phone rang. It was my husband.  He was still at the emergency, and the network was jammed so as not to interrupt the machine readings. He had been in the emergency and was upset that no one had attended to him. At about 3 pm, the doctor called to give me updates. By the time the doctor finished speaking with me, I found myself on the floor, trembling. The doctor goes “The CT scan shows that your husband’s lungs have been severely infected. This is a critical case, and it could go either way. When it gets to this extent, people usually die. The virus has really damaged his lungs.” He continued “His lungs are not getting enough oxygen, but we will do our best. We will put him on a life support ventilator and then in a coma, and make his lungs stop breathing. Now the ventilator has its own side effects.” The doctor added. “Some people do not take it well.”  My head was spinning. I was like “he cannot die, he will not die. No, not this one.” “I will update you” the doctor finished.

Right after that, I called my pastor and his wife. ‘’ Help me O” I cried, “My husband’s oxygen level is 50”. My pastor’s wife, a medical doctor, screeched. The worst she’s ever seen was 68 or 70 and then the person was in a very critical state. However, my pastor reassured me saying “Don’t worry, don’t worry! Do you have communion? Do you have bread or wine?” He continued. My pastor now started making decrees. “We have a covenant with the Lord that we will not lose anyone to COVID”. “Amen” I declared frantically. I took the communion and felt some consolation.

Sunday evening, a nurse called to inform me that they were giving my husband oxygen. They put him in a special unit to monitor his blood oxygen, and if it elevated to a reasonable level, they would move him to a normal ward. Not after an hour, another doctor called to inform me that they had put my husband in a medically induced coma. “He is on the ventilator, now on life support, prone sleeping position” “Can I speak to him before you do all this?” I asked. The doctor said no as it was an emergency.” What is the assurance that he is going to come out?” I asked. We don’t know, the doctor said. “You don’t know, and you wouldn’t let me speak to him before inducing him? What if he doesn’t come out, and you couldn’t let me speak to him?” I exclaimed as tears flooded my eyes. That night, I woke up looking for my husband beside me. I thought this was all a bad dream. I groaned painfully as I thought of being a widow at such a young age. So, my husband is in a coma! Where will I get another husband? Will a new husband love me as my husband does? Will we be able to do music together? God, save me from this horrid challenge.

Disenchanted, I tried to work and keep my mind intact but then; I had a mental vision of my husband where he gave a loud wail. I instantly fell to the ground shouting: Jesus! Jesus! Over and over. It was like my heart was being ripped out. I called my mum, stressfully contemplating stopping my Cover-to-Cover program. My mom said if you stop then the devil has won. You must keep it on. Therefore, I kept up with the program but could not share publicly what I was going through. I would cry and worship on the program and people would think I was in the spirit, but I was in despair. “This is how God rewards me for wanting to do His will?” At that point, I battered with many thoughts in my head – Is God even real? Where was God when things got out of hand? How did he allow my husband to get into Coma? And now there’s no assurance that he will come out alive. No one knows anything. It was agonizingly alarming!

I started making plans of what I would do if my husband died: I wouldn’t pack anything, I would simply disappear; no one will see me again; neither my parents nor his family, no one! “Maybe this God isn’t even real, maybe these are mere stories. Why will this happen? Where are all God’s promises?”. I was angry with God. Even though I grew up in church and my parents are pastors, I had never felt so alone in my life. I had absolutely nothing to hold on to. Just anger. There was no rhema, no song, no revelation. I felt so much despair. Then I thought about many people who had left the faith. This Christian thing does not work because I prayed many times. And it felt like the more I prayed the worse the sickness got. My 18 Days Mental Battle Continues Here


 

Hef-zibah Recounts Her Blessings — How The Pandemic Braced and Then Rocked Her Life (Part 1)

Hef-zibah Recounts Her Blessings — How The Pandemic Braced and Then Rocked Her Life (Part 1)

A Story from Hef-zibah in Calgary

 

Before 2020, we were productive and used to being swamped. Sounddior, our music school in Calgary was thriving. We scampered through the day and raced to the finish line of every day. Hearing children’s excited voices drifting in and out of our house delighted us. We were making music, learning songs, teaching piano and guitar lessons. We were sharing our lives, engaging our passions, and connecting with our students. What more could we ask for? Everything seemed great.

Our basement-turned-classroom became a treasured place to many of our students. It thrilled myself and my husband to serve and minister to our pupils in this area. We loved those kids; we adored them and didn’t mind giving them our best. The only problem however, was that the pressures of holding a full-time job and running our music school were relentless.

In catering to the occasional needs of our students —snacks, after lesson entertainments, pick-ups, and drop-offs and ever so often, child-minding — we unwittingly blurred the lines between business and our personal lives. It was usual for us to make countless trips, picking up and dropping off students up until late into the evenings. As the excited moments mixed with unrelenting work turned to days, and the days rolled into weeks which dovetailed into months, our bodies gradually slipped into exhaustion.

 

Come Covid 19.

Do we move online or not?

In April 2020, we thought to move online. However we wondered if our students would willingly adopt the move to online school. We prayed that the Lord would let us retain at least half of our students. After much musing, we concluded that the benefits of going online far outweighed the fears of any unknown. We eventually took the leap of faith and plunged online. And much to our surprise, about eighty (80%) of our clientele transitioned online with us. The good part was that those who previously couldn’t enrol at our school because of distance could finally enrol. How sweet!

 

Not only did the Lord sufficiently supply for us in a season of economic upheaval, mental weariness, and surging uncertainty, He also rejuvenated our minds and bodies. Where we’d been previously too tired, too fast, too drowsy, too exhausted to continue enjoying the traces of joy, health, and blessings that were right in front of us, God slowed us down. He helped us to catch our breath and then to catch an even greater sight of Him.

 

The year 2020 ushered us into a place of new insights and increased opportunities. That’s why this Christmas, we couldn’t help but say, “Thank you Lord! How great thou art, oh Lord! How great Thou art! We are so grateful for all you’ve done and continue to do! Thank you, Jesus!”

Now, I’d like to say that this was the end of the story. But no, this was only the drive out of the driveway. The days that would follow led us through paths we had never treaded.  We clinched onto the edge of our seats desperately pleading for the ride to come to a halt. And when it did, our lives never remained the same. Kindly watch out for Part 2 of this story.

Like my friend Hef-zibah, this Christmas, let’s take some time to reflect on all our blessings.  As comely as presents, gifts sharing, sumptuous food, friends, family, light and decorations are, Christmas is so much more. It’s loving and truly appreciating the one, who steps into our mess to cleanse us, forgive us and reconcile us to the father. Amidst the bustle of the season, may we find the solitude to give Him our hearts.  For Proverbs 23:26 says ” My son give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways”. This is the reason Jesus came. And don’t forget to reach out and bless the less fortunate.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. And feel free to share with us what your blessings are in the comment below or better still  share your story.

 

Kindly check out our previous Christmas writings.

A Christmas Spoken Word / Poetry

Why Christmas? Three Reasons and its Promises

 

Stay tuned for Part two (2) of Hef-zibah’s story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Does My House Get Dirty So Fast?

Why Does My House Get Dirty So Fast?

 

 

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walkway before it stops snowing. Phyllis Diller

 

It was barely two (2) hours since my girls walked into the house from their summer camp. As I ambled up the stairs to the family room area, I couldn’t help but notice the scraps of paper that had littered the floor. I instinctively bent down to pick them up. I wasn’t quite up when from the corner of my eyes I spotted some broken crayons that had somehow rolled down from the brown coffee table. I calmly crouched over to pick the crayons up, still giving my girls space to steep in their camp experience. But when I then  saw some Connect-4 game pieces (seeds)  scattered on the floor toward the washroom and now the pile of books lying on the carpet; disorganized as if wobbled by an earthquake, I cried out summoning my kids, “Why can’t this house remain clean? why should books and pens always lie around? do we live in a house that moves?’’ I  inquired facetiously. A question they’ve heard countless times. With little children, items never quite remain in their place for long, I thought to myself. Objects are either falling off, littering away, lying around, rolling down or flying off.  I finally roused myself  to accept the obvious; that a  house inhabited by little children requires frequent cleaning and tidying. 

 

While this thought  lingered in my mind, I admittedly, spotted a correlation to my own spiritual life. Every so often, the Lord would point His finger at areas in my life that needed cleaning — litters I  ignore, sections of my life that are wobbling out of alignment— especially impatience and believing the best of others .

 

Just as children interact with their environment leaving things out of order, we too in our interactions with our environment —   spouses and children, siblings and in-laws, colleagues and friends,— unknowingly spawn and leave behind messes. When sequestered in close quarters with people at work, church, home, school—   we, time and again displace emotions and trust: we err in judgement,  speak too soon,  act too fast or not at all, we say too much or don’t speak up as much. We soil our relationships with hurtful words,  prideful tones and indifferent attitudes.  And like little children, we do not readily take the time to assess and clean up after ourselves… Until… 

 

Not until we begin to topple over things. Pressed by stress, discomfort, explosions of anger,  and mostly, eyes, closely watching, prying and seeing our mess, we are coerced to pause, assess  and clean up.

 

What if we prioritized sanitizing our spiritual lives? Worse than the COVID-19 virus and its variantsis the infectious virus ( issues) of the heart. What needless pain we bear, what peace we often forfeit when we neglect our heart condition. What if we heed Peter’s counsel: So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God..  —1 peter 2:1 Message.   This is a daily invitation to you and me to get rid of pride, jealousy, anger, contention, strife, carnality, callousness and all vices that permeate our relationships.

 

Peter dives right into telling us how to live clean lives.  He does not suggest being overtly sin-conscious. Rather, Peter entreats us to drink deep (crave, earnestly desire, thirst for, consider as absolutely necessary) the pure milk of God’s word like newborn babies.  The same way newborn babies depend on their mother’s milk for their sustenance and growth,  so must we prioritize the nourishment of our souls with God’s word to fully mature—adults, who make fewer messes and readily clean after themselves.

 

As we crave and desire the Word, our love for Christ  —the Word  — also grows. Hence our awareness and desire to love others also grows.  This, I believe, is an antidote for sin consciousness. 

 

As they say, Improvement begins with I. Therefore Lord; I ask for the grace to crave and prioritize your word daily. The diligence to seek you more than I seek earthly things and the strength to pause during my day to meditate on your word so that I may grow up to be mature and whole in God.

 

The problem, therefore, is not that children mess up the house but that children remain children for far too long. 

The problem is not that the house gets littered but that the house is left dirty …and for a long time.

It is not so much a problem that we have issues we need to sort out. It becomes a problem when we leave them unattended…and for a long time. 

I encourage you to earnestly desire God’s word today.

 

God Bless and keep you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Purpose of the Law – Dead to the Law?

What is the Purpose of the Law – Dead to the Law?

The Christian is no better than a non-Christian, but he is infinitely better off. It is like two men on a plane, one of whom is wearing a parachute while the other is not. Neither is better than the other, but the man with the parachute is certainly better off than the man who is not wearing a parachute. The difference will be seen when they jump from the plane at 20,000 feet. Jesus warned that if we “jump” into death without Him, we would perish. Culled from the School of Biblical Evangelism.

 

 

 

A Good Person

 

In a recent discussion with Dan a tall, smart-looking, teenager whom I met by the church walkway. We talked school, life and then God. As our talk traversed to morality, — right, wrong, and being good — Dan my new acquaintance revealed to me he was as good as most Christians.  ‘’ I am better than many people I know,” he maintains.   ”I try my best to be good. I tell a few lies occasionally; I curse a mite. However, I also do many good things: I volunteer ofttimes and usually donate to charity. I believe my good outweighs my bad, therefore I am a good person ‘’ He pronounced.

 

As genuine as Dan sounded, I see two misconceptions with this thinking. First, this reasoning exalts the idea that the law is a checklist for salvation. Second, this thinking exonerates the offender based on the feelings and perceptions of the same offender. Imagine with me that you accidentally poured a cup of filthy water or slurry on the dark-colored clothes you had on. This dirt, as filthy and horrible as it was, may not be obvious on that piece of clothing. You can quickly try to wipe off the filth off your cloth without it showing off as many dents and stains. Now, conjecture you pour this same dirty fluid on your immaculate white cloth. A drop of this fluid is likely to draw attention to the mess. The white clothing screams, help! I’m stained. I’m dented. I’m filthy.

 

 

 

The Law Highlights Sin

 

The law is like that immaculate white cloth. The same filthy liquid – that was tucked away by the dark colored material is highly accentuated by the pure white clothing. The law makes sin exceedingly sinful. When you and I engage in that ‘’tiny sin’’ – tell a little lie, gossip a little, shortchange our employer’s time and resources for personal time and benefit, take a sneak peek at that porn, lust for what others have, commit adultery or fornication, use the Lord’s name in vain. To you and I — the corrupt dark-colored piece of clothing. It appears as nothing; we understate wickedness and ill (Psalm 14:1) saying things like: It affects no one; no one sees it, it’s nothing; it feels good.

 

 

 

”Nothing in all of creation is hidden. Everything is laid bare before the eyes of whom we must give account ” (Hebrew 4:13). Now, because that ”tiny sin ‘ is exceedingly sinful in the eyes of God and because God is Holy, just and righteous, God must punish every wrong. Hence the payment of all sin is death (Romans 6:23)—sickness, dis -ease, confusion, pain, frustration, temporal and eternal condemnation and separation from God the source of life. In the same breath, God is exceedingly merciful and loving. He does not want for any of us to be subjected to the penalty of sickness, dis-ease, confusion, pain, frustration and eternal condemnation. God offered his son Jesus Christ who completely fulfilled ALL the law. And by extension, when we place faith in Jesus Christ, we satisfy the law in and through Jesus Christ (Romans 8:4).

 

 

 

The Good News

 

This is a gift. Not a reward, an entitlement or a salary. For God the father made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be sin for you and me, so that we can be made right with God (2 Cor 5:21). In other-
words, Jesus took upon Himself your ”tiny sin” The gossip, those evil inclinations of your heart, the backbiting, the fornication, homosexuality, pornography. He was punished for your sake so that your death penalty — sickness, dis -ease, confusion, pain, frustration, temporal and eternal separation from the source of life — is totally cancelled and annulled in Him.

 

 We must not reduce godliness to deeds but to an unwavering, consistent desire for more of Jesus Christ.

 

For the non-christian, who accepts this free gift, he dies to the law through the crucified body of Christ. Meaning that he no longer looks to the law in and by itself to justify him. When he yields, — surrenders, bows, clings, unites to Christ Jesus, the one who was raised from the dead, then he begins to bear good fruit for God (Romans 7:4). My friend, if you haven’t already, will you choose to unite with Christ Jesus today and be discharged from the power of sin and addiction? Are you tired of the life of purposelessness, a life of fear, anxiety, panic, frustration, apathy, guilt, bondage and fear of death? What will you lose if you place your confidence in the one who’s lived long enough to know the end of a mere mortal? What will you give in exchange for your soul? (Mark 8:37). What would be your destination when you jump into death without Jesus Christ?

 

The Decision

 

This makes grace truly amazing: that Jesus takes all your rebellion and my pride, your filthy sexual perversions and my stinking self-righteousness and nailed them to the cross so that you and I can be made right with Him. If you totally surrender (give in, yield, submit, succumb) your whole existence —your thoughts, your time, your resources, your words, your relationships — to Him. If you accept this gift by making Jesus your Lord, your master and your teacher, Jesus will give you a new heart and a new desire (Ezekiel 36:26). Yes! He replaces all those mental strongholds of suicidal thoughts and anxiety and gives you His own thoughts, His own life. He makes you right with Him.

 

If you want to receive this gift of eternal life, please say this out loud (Romans 10:10) to the Lord right where you are. ‘’I am a sinner lost in wickedness and confused in darkness. I have sinned against you by my —-(name your sins). Please forgive me dear Jesus. Have mercy on me. I am very sorry for my sins against you. I today acknowledge that you are the son of God. You came to this world, and you took my sin so I don’t have to pay for them. I accept you today as my Lord and personal savior. This means that You will be my master and that you’ll be in charge of my life. I will devote time in study of your word to know you more. Please help me Lord.’’

 

If you declared this by faith and really meant what you said. You are now a child of God and are now (already) saved (Rom 10:10).
Please listen to this video below to learn practical ways to grow your relationship with Jesus