My Life Before and After Drugs; How God Saved My Life—Rob’s Story

My Life Before and After Drugs; How God Saved My Life—Rob’s Story

I was probably fourteen (14) the first time I smoked pot.  As a teenager, I became involved with a group of kids who experimented with drugs. We would gather together for fun and smoke dope or do harder drugs like LSD or MDA. Most weekends we would have parties that often involved doing drugs, drinking and listening to music.  This eventually led me to use needles to get high.

One night, I had decided to take things to a higher level, so I filled two needles with MDA and shot them at the same time. “It was powerful.” I thought.

Many nights, as I look back now, I recall my friends trying to take my drugs away from me. I won’t forget one particular night I woke up after a dramatic drug experience, my friends called me aside and told me how I’d scared them. They said I’d gone too far and asked what was wrong with me.  As I walked home that morning, I recounted my foolishness and began to consider what I’d done.  I said to myself “I could have died, how could I be so stupid?”

It was there that something extraordinary happened: I heard this voice, a startling voice that said, “Yes you could have died, but I didn’t let you because I have a purpose for your life.” I was sure someone came up behind me and said this because it felt so real. However, when I turned around, I was all alone; this scared me even more and left a lasting bang in my life.

 

Shortly after this incident, I stopped doing hard drugs but smoked occasionally; thankfully, I was never addicted to drugs.

 

We were not staunch Christians, but we sometimes attended a United Church just a few blocks from our home. The time came when my family decided to move from Edmonton (Canada) to Calgary, to pursue a business opportunity.  Meanwhile, I remained alone in Edmonton.

After about a year my parents moved, my family was struck by a severe tragedy; my youngest brother was accidentally killed.  That was probably the lowest point of my life.

“My brother’s death was an opportunity for me to leave Edmonton; a chance to leave the negative influences in Edmonton and start all over again”.

I eventually joined my parents in Calgary and soon became friends with a boy whose parents were friends of my parents.  He and his parents were Christians and there was something striking about him that drew me to him.  I think his family may have been trying to lead us to Christ.

As a direct result of my brother’s death, we began attending a church nearby to seek comfort. During this time, I went through a time of soul searching and exploring other faiths.  I read the Bible and the book of Mormon. Finally, I rejected the book of Mormon but continued to read the Bible occasionally.

One day, someone invited me to hear a young evangelist speak at a church we attended occasionally.  It was there that I heard the gospel clearly spoken. Thus, I decided to ask Jesus to forgive me and come into my life. I felt weird and quite confused as people hugged me.

The young evangelist told me that I needed to read the Bible and attend church so that I can grow.  This marked the start of my journey. Thank God! That journey has taken me a long way through many challenges and amazing experiences in my quest to know Christ more intimately.

 

Reasons to Quit the Drugs and Alcoholism

The flashbacks I experienced when I overdosed on LSD: These flashbacks were magnified when I smoked dope, and they terrified me.

Often I was awakened in the night with my heart beating furiously, and I would hear noises in my mind. It sounds like a massive wind-up machine that would release once it reached optimum strength. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Hereafter, I would see hallucinations as if I were stoned on LSD again. I was afraid the horrible feelings would never go away.” quote=”Hereafter, I would see hallucinations as if I were stoned on LSD again. I was afraid the horrible feelings would never go away.”]

Drugs entrap!!

When I started doing drugs, it was for fun; but apparently, there were risks that far outweighed the rewards.

Why Christians Need to Pray for Unbelievers

Looking back now, I wondered if anyone was praying for me to come to the Lord. The only one I could think of was maybe my grandmother. (My father’s mom). Although she never told me, and we never discussed spiritual matters, she was perhaps the only one I knew who attended church.

Paraphrasing 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15, We who have received the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ have a grave responsibility to no longer live for ourselves. But instead to be compelled by God’s love to witness, care for and pray for those around us who may be making bad choices.

The fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (James 5:16)

 

My Advice to Anyone Contemplating Drugs

Drugs seem fun initially, but they momentarily become hazardous. Due to my foolishness, I became infected with hepatitis C. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered this.  At the time there was no cure; it was only last year that I received a costly treatment. Thank God! My liver was getting to a dangerous place, it could have killed me.

Motivated by My Past

Once I became a Christian, I was stirred to be a good influence on other young people and hopefully, help to prevent some of my mistakes reoccur in their lives. I joined an organization called Youth for Christ; they had a big reputation for reaching young people.  My friend and I enlisted the same day; we saw many delightful testimonies there.

My friend and I rented a large house and would often invite troubled teens to live with us. It was a tough time, yet exciting and fulfilling. We managed to get the youths involved in a program through Youth for Christ called Worth Unlimited where they worked and learned some life and social skills. One of these young people was a young man named Pat Nixon who became the founder of  The Mustard Seed a wonderful organization that ministers to many of our down and trodden out people of society, praise God!

God has done a fantastic work of transformation in my life; I can only thank him and give my life to Him as an expression of gratitude. He set me free from sin, and much more. God has a beautiful plan for each of our lives, His plan goes way beyond our understanding and even beyond our wildest imaginations.

I have been a Christian now for over 40 years now. He has blessed me with a beautiful wife, five great kids and soon to be five grandchildren. He has given me hope and a reason to live.

 

Drugs brought death and destruction, but Jesus brought life, peace and wholeness. (John 10:10)

Hallelujah!

Story from Rob, Calgary

 

We’re always happy to read your comments. Don’t forget to leave us a line.

God bless you.

How God Provided Money To Offset Debt; The Incredible Benefit of Being Specific In Prayer.

How God Provided Money To Offset Debt; The Incredible Benefit of Being Specific In Prayer.

In 2014, we had our 3 little kiddos and were expecting another one. Thus, we felt the need to move to a bigger place. Only my husband had a job at the time, so we thought we‘d look toward the outskirts of Oslo, Norway for a more affordable property fit for a family of six.

 

 

At the onset, we had only a vague picture of what we wanted: a budget, the desired number of rooms, and a woolly idea of places we wanted to live in. We didn’t think it was necessary to ask God for other things that made living in a place convenient: street traffic, distance to the grocery stores, distance to the library,  type of schools in the neighbourhood etc.

 

We searched and viewed all possible houses in the city until we were flummoxed. We’d seen all types of properties. The grueling long search soon made us indecisive. We wanted this house and the next and the other.

 

One day, during either a bible study or a prayer session, I felt the Lord ask me, “What do you really want?” Pointing me to (Mark 11:23) which says, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

This mountain signifying — a definite request.

I believe the Lord nudged me to put it down in writing. After discussing this with my husband, we came up with the following

At least a three-bedroom house with its yard (specifically) at the back for safety

An attached rental property

A slow traffic street

A special school for one of my daughters with walking distance to the train station and grocery stores

Finally, I desperately asked God for a prayer room

 

 

Around my 7th month of pregnancy, we visited a couple who lived in this calm and well-kept community called Ås, situated in the Akershus province of Norway. It’s lavishly surrounded by quaint houses, well-tarred walking, and bicycle paths and sandwiched by nicely manicured hedges. The streets had a calm traffic and were surrounded by lovely greeneries. It also had a short route to the bus stop.  The library and the grocery stores were only a stroll away. At first, I was but attracted to the serenity of the neighborhood, the feeling of fresh air, and the birds chirping. The well-kept parks fascinated me even more. As our friends saw us to our car, almost in a flighty way I said,” Lord, I would love to live in a neighborhood like this”.—We were in for a big surprise.

 

 

From that time on, we started considering the neighborhood of Ås in our search.  Turned out, property prices in Ås were awfully pricey. As we viewed properties in Ås, we noticed that though the asking prices of the houses were at the upper bound of our budget, they were eventually sold for higher prices — anything from 200,000 Norwegian kroner or more (33,000 Canadian dollars) above the asking prices. In fact, one property we’d gone to see in Ås was sold for 1.5 million Norwegian kroner (250,000 Canadian dollars) above the asking price—thanks to the property bubble market.

 

 

After this outlandish pricing episode, we were exasperated and decided to take our eyes off Ås and settle for somewhere more affordable. Though our decision was to forget Ås, every so often, the allure of  Ås came tugging at us. One day, we saw a property for sale in Ås, our treasured location; we gave it one more try. Unlike the previous house viewings here, strangely, we were the only viewer for this property. This rather shocked us until we learned that the property had been on the market for a while. It wouldn’t sell because of a drainage problem in the basement. As we set our eyes on the house, it evoked no special feelings. The house was anything but splendid. Instead, it had a bland and empty look. We were hesitant. On a second thought, we wondered if this could be an opportunity that’s been shrouded in rags waiting for us to refine?

 

 

We consulted with some plumbers who gave us a glimmer of hope to purchase the property. On that slender thread, we dared to buy the house and hoped not to be greeted by mold surprises. After we fixed the drainage problem, we touched up the paintings inside the house, pulled down the wall separating the kitchen from the sitting area and behold, magic happened!

 

We began enjoying our house with all we’d asked for — a three-bedroom house with an attached rental property, the child-friendly neighborhood and a very low street traffic. The closest school which was about 4 minutes walk from our house, was the exact school suited for my first daughter. Not to mention the park merely 2 minutes away.

 

The day finally came when the former house owner —a Christian woman— came visiting. She was surprised at the changes we’d made to the house. She couldn’t believe it was the same house she’d sold us months earlier. As we got talking, she revealed something gripping to me. “The room in the basement was my prayer room”, she explained, “It was sacred to me and I would want you to do the same.” She said she felt the need to tell me. Astounded by what I just heard, I immediately felt a tingling sensation of God’s love inside of me. In the subsequent days,  as I kept wondering why this lady divulged that to me, I was engrossed with the thought that perhaps God wanted to hint to me that he’d given me exactly what I asked for.

 

I believe God wanted to show us that we could ask for anything —within the boundaries of His will— in faith and receive it. It mesmerized me that God cared enough to hear every single word we uttered. She telling me definitely built up my faith.  I believe being specific in our prayers helps us recognize when we receive our answers; convinces us of the graciousness of God, and increases our confidence in God. This definitely jacked up mine.

 

More still, about one year later, in October 2016,  the time came for us to leave Norway for Canada. With deep sighs and heavy hearts, we began the process to enlist our house for sale. It was no pleasure having to let go of our “promised” home. After we contacted a realtor to enlist our property for sale, we wondered if the balcony and some other things we needed to fix would affect the sale of the house. Here again, prayer dispels doubt. Philippians 4:6 tells us not to worry but to pray about everything.

We employed our newfound truth about making definite requests in prayer by faith. We asked the Lord to send someone who would buy the house within three months (we scheduled to leave Norway Dec 12th) for a price we had in mind. We had only three months to tidy up the house, sell the house, and handover to the new buyer.

Surprisingly, someone who desperately wanted to buy a house in that neighborhood contacted us before we put our property up on the market. To cut the long story short, we sold this property before the official viewing day for 1 million kroner (more than 166,000 Can Dollars) more than we bought it in the previous year.  Did I mention that because of the initial drainage problem, we bought the house for less than the asking price?

This is just one testimony of how God answered a specific need and sent financial relieve to offset our debt.

“Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession”. Psalm 2:8

 

 

What we learned from this episode:

  • Being specific forced us to think about what we really wanted
  • Writing down our requests helped us visualize our desires — an act of faith according to Hebrews 11:1
  • It also helped us pray specifically using related scriptures  to target our prayers
  • Being specific helped us to recognize when God answered and to praise Him accordingly
  • The act made us stand in awe of God when we saw that He actually answered; this made us trust God more in other areas of our lives.
  • It changed the way I relate to God. I now see God as my Daddy that I can tell all my worries and be confident that He hears.

 

Has God answered your prayers? please, do share with us in the comment box below.

God bless you!

 

 

 

Leukemia Healed And Then My Life Took a Sudden Shift

Leukemia Healed And Then My Life Took a Sudden Shift

Story from Mae in Calgary, Canada

In February 2001, something weird began to happen to me. I was feeling extremely tired but without any physical pains in my body. This continued until the day I and my husband were invited to supper with some other couples. We were in this place when suddenly, everywhere began to look foggy to me. I could hear people talking but couldn’t see anyone. I was conscious of all that was happening around me but could not visualize anyone or objects. Finding this very strange, I told my husband to please take me home immediately.

We dropped by my family doctor, who conducted some initial tests and referred me to a specialist. Within 2 days, they sent me to an Oncologist. I had no clue what an Oncologist was or did. Looking back now, I realized the doctor didn’t tell me what he specialized in and I didn’t bother to ask.  He ran another test withdrawing something from my spine.  After examining the result, he took my hand and without beating about the bush, he said, “ There’s something serious with your blood”  even then I was oblivious.

I was hospitalized immediately and then the lineup of tests began. They drew out so much blood from me while running these tests that I wondered if I had any more blood left. There were series of tests upon tests.The next morning, the doctor announced to me that I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia (Cancer of the blood). ”It was still in the marrow,” the doctor said.  I froze in that moment, startled by the news I’d received. I can’t really explain how I felt but the last thing I thought of was God. All I had was fear. The doctor assured me that he would try to keep the cancer from getting into the blood as it was still in my spine.

Miserable I felt…

After two days, I began my chemotherapy treatments. Miserable is an understatement of what I was feeling. I didn’t feel physically weak but was totally and emotionally wrecked out. The niggling weird feelings were horrible. Then came the depression. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to be all alone. The chemo treatments made me very depressed.  Now let me say this, I was born in a Christian home, but wasn’t a practising Christian. I knew nothing about the word of God nor any of His Word related to my health.  I was hooked up to blood work. I had more faith in the doctor than anyone else, so it was a good thing the doctor didn’t want to tell me how sick I was.

Incessant bouts of depression…

After about 5 weeks, the doctor came in and said to me that the treatments were working. The doctor asked me “do you realize how sick you were?”  “I guess not” I responded. “I got you in remission” he continued. He said the treatment is working but there was not a 100% guarantee

I couldn’t control the incessant bouts of depression. I would feel so helpless and worthless. I’d lost all my hair, lost 43 pounds and didn’t want to go home yet. It was about the last weeks when the medications were taken away that I realized how sick I was. Thankfully, some people always came around to pray for me in the Hospital.

I almost died thoughts…

It was after this sickness that the thoughts of that I almost died started coming hard at me. All of a sudden I realized I would have been dead. Even though I didn’t have a relationship with God at the time, I believe He showed me grace and met me at my level. Each time I went to the hospital for treatments, for some strange reason, I’d be impressed to read a certain sign by the roadside. The signs were moving frontlets of bible verses. Each time I passed and read them, I felt as though there was something pulling me to want to come closer to God. Around that time, I heard of this Hawkwood Baptist preacher in Calgary, Bernie Smith. I would go to him and ask him many questions.  I wondered if God would want me back after so many years of turning my back to him. As I learnt about God’s love and mercy towards me, I decided to start going to church and got baptized thereafter. All the fears I had about where I would go after I die gradually dissipated. Before now, I lived in fear not hopeful in this life or where I’d end up in.

As I studied the Word of God, God started giving me his own thoughts. He would direct me “read this, read this”. They were like God actually talking to me. All traces of fear and agitation left me. I had absolute peace.

Reflecting back

I see now that God had been there all along. I had lots of signs in the hospital. God was trying to get my attention but I didn’t know it at the time. God shook me from this sickness to realize it. Perhaps you’re reading this and you don’t really know this Jesus. God is waiting for you to come to Him. Don’t harden your heart!

The ultimate fear

Throughout this period, I had this fear of death. It’s human nature. This is because we were made for eternity according to Ecclesiastes 3:11. That means that we were made for a life beyond this one.  We were made to live eternally. So departing from the earth is not where life ends.

Perhaps you say, no I’ll take my chances. Well, eternity is a loooong time to be wrong. Do you want an eternity of pain and regret? Or an eternity of peace?

Death still remains the biggest problem of man. But there is good news!  There is a solution. Jesus Christ is the solution.  The scriptures say that “ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no name given on earth by which man shall be saved” Acts 4:12

Jesus went on to say in John 14:6 that  “ I am the way, the truth and the life”. No one comes to the father without Him. The life He gives is a final rest for your soul and a relationship of peace, joy and hope here on earth.

Let’s choose wisely.

God is waiting for you!

I am now 81 years and it has never felt better. It is the same peace I have today. Even If someone tells me that I’ll drop dead in 5 mins I  would not worry at all. I have no doubt God loves me and that I will spend eternity with Him. My life ever since has seen upward motion. Not without challenges though but with ever-increasing victories. I am so glad to present to you this Jesus who helped me from my depressing thoughts. He is the best thing that can ever happen to anyone.

I am so grateful to God that I went through this. The shaking from this cancer helped me find my way to God.

In case you do not know the Lord, here are some resources that may help in your discovery.

I would love to know if this helped you in any way. Please don’t forget to leave a comment and share as well if you were blessed.

God bless you!

The Benefits of Praying and Fasting; How I Got My Job After a Long Wait

The Benefits of Praying and Fasting; How I Got My Job After a Long Wait

 

It was in 1999. I’d just graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Yola in Nigeria; and just finished my youth service (we served the country for one year). I sought a job from November 2000 to October 2001.

 

I come from a Moslem family and my father had many political and business networks.  He was ‘well connected’ as they say in Nigeria. Incidentally, I studied Chemical Engineering at the University so it was nothing for him to connect me to his friends working at the oil companies in Nigeria.

My father contacted many of his friends on my behalf. One time, I received an envelope encasing a letter from the president’s office; to deliver to Shell Nigeria for employment considerations. I still remember the letter, it had an engraved Nigeria’s coat of arms. I hadn’t seen such a well-designed letter. I travelled from Portharcourt, where I lived at the time to Lagos. There I and my dad went on to deliver the letter to the office of Shell’s Human Resources Director. I didn’t hear a word back from that office to date.

 

 

They disappointed me…

I’d tried quite a number of my father’s connections. We went to the executive vice chairman of Exxon Mobile at the time for an opportunity in Exxon Mobile. We even contacted the then Chief Security Officer (CSO) Rivers State Government for a position in Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) Bonny, yet nothing came from it. I applied to several companies but no one gave me a callback. The intriguing thing about everything was that I was praying and at the same time “pressing the buttons” hoping to get help from my connections. I tried every possible connection until I burned out. This lasted about 1 year.

 

 

Something must be wrong with me…

Out of frustration, one day my well-meaning, Moslem dad had an idea. He advised me to go have a spiritual bath. He went ahead to introduce me to one of his friends that had taken a spiritual bath. ” After I had this spiritual bath, ” his friend announced, ” doors began to open”. I was swamped, daily by such suggestions from my Dad and my half-sisters who by the way thought I was too proud to take anyone’s advice. It got to the point where my father commenced verbalizing his dissatisfaction with me. He said he had done everything possible a father could do for his son. He had put me through school;  he took me to his friends with high status. “There must be something wrong with you”.  I must have been cursed with some sort of bad luck,” he suggested, angrily. “Christianity is a useless faith,” he continued, “We pray five times but you Christians pray only once. Which do you think will have more power?”

 

 

 

 

I decided to do something differently…

Perplexed by all the rantings and disappointments, I told my dad I needed to go away for five days. On Sept 9th, 2001, I left for my friend’s house in Ebonyi State for a spiritual retreat. I embarked on a three-day, morning to 6 pm fast. It was during this fast that the Lord reprimand me. He said I was foolish in thinking that the arm of flesh would get me a job. He reminded me of  Jeremiah 17:5, The scipture says “Thus says the LORD, Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD”.  “You have not looked up to me,” The Lord rebuked me. Ah, with a penitent heart, I cried bitterly to God and repented of my sins.

 

 

God heard me…

About three days after the fast, in my father’s living room, I stumbled upon Psalm 102:13 which says “Now I will arise and have mercy on Zion for it is time to show favour to her; the appointed time has come.” I felt as though those words were whispered directly to my spirit. There was no shadow of a doubt that those words were for me.  In excitement, I jumped up and started dancing. I danced and danced such that an onlooker would think I was dancing to some tune or some music. I only stopped for not wanting the neighbour to think I was crazy. I had a reassuring peace that God had heard me.

 

The next day, Tony my friend visited me. And out of excitement, I told Tony that I was going to get a Job. He looked at me expressing surprise like, what has come over you? Seeing, we have both been looking for a job for the past year.  He asked, “so what has changed?” Anyways, less than a week after I read that verse—around September 18th, 2001. I received a letter from the company: Fugro Consultant Nigeria, formerly called Nigeria Prodec Fugro asking me to come down for an interview.

 

This was the first interview letter I’d received after countless applications. The moment I saw this letter, I knew it was my job. The company needed to select only 2 successful candidates. As I prepared for the interview, however, I heard doubts in my head asking “How are you sure you’ll be selected?” The results came out, and I learned that the company selected those who had a score of 70 and above. I luckily scaled through with slightly above 70 marks. There were many others with high scores in the ’80s and ’90s.

 

In preparation for the 2nd interview phase, I read all the relevant books I could think of. On the morning of the interview, after my quiet time with God, I began to do a recap of all I’d read. Just then, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart to pick up the diary I’d used during my youth service. The diary contained some points I jotted down from a book called “How to answer tough interview questions” I’d completely forgotten about this diary and hadn’t opened it for a year. I opened it that morning and dusted it, then I glanced through it for a few minutes and continued with my engineering book.

 

As I sat for the 2nd phase of the interview, I thought it was going to be a question-and-answer exam. Surprisingly, it was a written exam. There were 16 questions. 15 of the 16 questions were almost word for word what I’d read from my diary that morning. Seeing this,  excitement gripped my heart. My first words were “ God I thank you”. I tingled with Joy as I happily reproduced back the answers.

 

I didn’t receive a response after the said time…

After waiting for the stipulated 2 weeks given by the company, I was quite concerned I’d not been called by the company. Anxiously, I called one of my friends who had also made it to the 2nd round. He informed me he had already received a rejection letter. This made me all the more nervous. I called the company to find out what was happening and was advised to wait until I get a response.

 

 

About the 3rd or fourth week, I received a  letter requesting that I come for discussions with the management. On the eve of the scheduled discussion, I attended a vigil —as was my custom— in the Assemblies of God church in Port Harcourt city, Nigeria. After the prayer meeting that night, I bought a book displayed on the tables there at the church.

 

The next morning, I left for the management discussion with the book I’d bought the previous night. On arriving at the company’s building and having waited at the reception office for a while, the Managing Director summoned me into his office.  We began to talk. The director asked me questions starting with subject-specific questions and gradually veered into more general questions. This was when he asked me why I was holding a Christian book. Now, that was a logical question as my names reflect my Moslem background. I replied, that I was born a Moslem but was miraculously converted to Christianity.  On hearing this, he immediately called the office secretary (the late Kate Okafor) to give me my employment letter to sign.

 

What I later found out from Kate…

Kate later explained that the company had already selected the 1st candidate and had reservations to pick me as the 2nd candidate. They’ve had an issue with a former Moslem employee, so this time around the company wanted an employee who would fully participate in the company’s values. My confirmation was delayed because my two first names are Moslem names. Even today, I often wondered why they still held on to me. This God is good! All glory to God!

 

 

  I learned that…

  1. We shouldn’t trust in the arm of flesh— my letter from the office of the presidency.
  2. As believers, we cannot dictate to God ”Use this man or this person”. Let God use whosoever he wants to.
  3. People say you need to know someone before you get a job. I’ll say you need to know God and then He’ll connect you with the right people.
  4. The promises we claim by faith are promises that are revealed to our spirit. It feels as though you’ve already received it when the written Word becomes revealed to you. We must, however, properly position ourselves to hear God.
  5. This experience increased my faith by leaps and bounds. I was able to respond to my father that God was alive. What my dad couldn’t do, God did for me.
  6. During the times we were hoping in our connections, something kept telling me, why don’t you take out time to seek God? I knew something was not in agreement with my spirit but because I desperately needed a job, I ignored the HolySpirit and tagged along; until I hit rock bottom.

 

Oh, thank you, Jesus!

God Bless you for reading!

—Submitted by Omotayo from Norway

Have you had a similar experience? what happened and what did you learn? Please comment below. We’d love to hear.

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When God Helped me Through a Tough Disappointment; How to Overcome Difficulty with a Good Attitude

When God Helped me Through a Tough Disappointment; How to Overcome Difficulty with a Good Attitude

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

Have you been disappointed or hurt by a dear friend, a colleague at work, or a relative?

Who sets out for the day hoping to be let down by anyone?  Distress, disappointment, and hurt sometimes find their way to us when we least expect them. However, building inner strength prepares and strengthens us in times of distress.

Disappointment and hurt come with life. At some point, we’ll either offend someone or be offended. But just as an abrasive smoothen out rough edges on materials, distress can be an abrasive that helps refine us.

How we go about disappointment and pain, however, determines how refined or boorish we’ll become. Our response goes a long way in shaping the quality of life, friendships, freedom, and opportunities we’ll experience afterwards. It also affects our ability to pursue goals with energy and persistence. 

The scripture puts it this way:  “A broken (crushed) spirit saps your strength, but a cheerful heart is a good medicine” —Prov 17:22 

iwannatestify

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I received shocking news…

It was in February 2012, I’d only returned from my four (4) weeks vacation. Like any other day, I resumed work at one of my company’s branches. I’d phoned one of my colleagues who was also the store manager for some help. But her response over the phone gave me an inkling that something was amiss. She added also that she’ll be coming to meet me in my branch office shortly.

My branch manager walked in with a gloomy look that confirmed my suspicion. She narrated some incidents that had occurred while I was away. Then she made some staggering statements that weren’t true about me.

As those words swirled around my head, I could only freeze. I lost all ounce of strength to defend myself, let alone a clue of what to do. In my wildest imagination, I didn’t see any of those accusations coming.

As I stood startled, trying so hard to think straight, she then announced that I would no longer be working with them; I had two weeks to make an appeal. 

I learned only a few days later that there’d been some chit-chatting behind me while I was away. This was only the aftermath of their conversations.

Fear, mixed with anger, gripped my heart. The world stood still at that moment as myriads of thoughts raced through my mind. “What would people say?” I’d testified how I miraculously got the job. “What a bad example you are, how will we pay our bills? No other person will want to hire you…” The thoughts kept flowing. 

I felt so angry and hurt as everything within me was yelling, “lash out!”  Just then, I heard this gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit saying to keep calm.

Somehow, I restrained myself. The days that followed were simply horrible!  They were filled with confusion and bewilderment. I felt no strength or motivation to do anything. This reminds me of what the scriptures say in Proverbs 24:10  “ If your strength fails on the day of battle, your strength is small.”

In other words,  if we sink, withdraw, slack or quit, on a day of affliction, troubles, distress, or challenge, our ability and strength are insufficient.

We fight back with strength from our Spirit within…

Now, my thoughts were blurred with anger and disappointment. Yet, as I studied and pondered on God’s word, the anger gradually diffused. One day, the thought that ” Everything works together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose in Romans 8: 28” occurred to me.

This thought suddenly gave me an assurance that everything would go well. I was quite unsure of what to do, so I spent more time with God in prayer and in the Word, trusting Him to direct my steps.

Avoid the temptation to run off to go tell people a negative report before speaking with your father above. Sure, we may seek counsel from people but let’s learn to consult God FIRST. That shows we trust and value His opinion more than anyone else’s.

Regarding this, the Bible says: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD”— (Jeremiah 17:5-7).

As the days passed, we (I and my husband) felt we should contact a lawyer. Meanwhile, one day, I felt led to read Matthew 5:44-48 please find time to read). Paraphrasing, it says: to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, do good to those who hate us and to bless and do not curse.

With God’s help, I prayed this way. I asked God to forgive my colleague. I started saying that I loved her, I forgave her, and I prayed for God to reveal Himself to her. Gradually, I noticed my attitude toward her beginning to change from anger to compassion. I couldn’t speak ill of her anymore. I’d forgiven her.

Interestingly, on the day of the hearing, even my other colleagues I hadn’t called upon spoke up for me. I was shocked at the outcome of events in my favour: The company apologized profusely and annulled their statement against me. To say the least, I was restored to work.

Surprisingly, like the ricochet of a bullet, the store manager was demoted and replaced some weeks later.

Two years later, after we both had left the company, she called me to apologize that she offended me. Glory to God! 

It’s so exciting to watch how God fights our battles when we approach issues His way; God designed for us to overcome ALL hurt and challenges of life with a good attitude.

My Key Takeaways

  • God’s word gives us the right perspective to deal with relationship issues; if we make time for God’s words, it will show up in times we need it.

  • People’s bad attitudes shouldn’t change our good attitudes.

  • God uses situations, both good and bad, especially people’s bad attitudes, to refine us.

 

  • A strong spirit can stand in anything (Prov 18:14). God’s Word is food for our spirit. It becomes our thoughts and words if we feed enough of it. God’s word can work through us helping us overcome any challenge.

  • Entrusting our lives to God helps us respond to negative circumstances out of a living relationship with Jesus Christ —love and not bitterness.
How God Helped Me Through A Rough Study —Amaka’s Story.

How God Helped Me Through A Rough Study —Amaka’s Story.

“When you get into a tight place, and everything goes against you till it seems as if you couldn’t hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that’s just the place and time that the tides’ll turn“. —Harriet Beecher Stowe

I’ll never forget September 2013 when I decided to take a Master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo, Norway. I had three kids at the time and my plan was to finish my studies after two years and then find a job. This all changed when I found out I was pregnant during my 1st year in the program —around February 2014.

 

For many weeks I prayed I would wake up and realize this was all a dream. My family life was already hectic with three kids, a husband employed full-time, and no relatives close by to help. 

Crippled by this news, I felt as if I was trapped in a revolving door.

 

I took time away from school because of severe pregnancy sickness. Most of these times were spent feeding on God’s word. This continued even after the baby’s arrival. Little did I know I was preparing myself for the hard days ahead.

Now with only a few months until school started, a problem arose — I needed a babysitter for my little baby “How hard could this be ?” I thought.  I searched and asked around for an ideal babysitter — someone who’d suit my timing, budget, and needs.  Days, weeks, and months passed, and I’ve still not found my ideal person. Meanwhile, I’d prayed and believed that I’d received an answer to my prayers according to Mark 11:24.

 

On the weekend before school started, as I sat on the train going to the city centre, my eyes met with those of a lady, probably in her late forties. She smiled at me and we exchanged pleasantries.

As we chatted, it turned out, she was also looking for a  job and could babysit. Best of all, she lived close to me and her price was affordable – exactly what I wanted. Relieved and assured of God’s love, this testimony would set the pace to trust God, even more, in the coming months

God’s Word became my life-line

As school started, the pressure began to mount —team projects, assignments, books, and papers to read up, — coupled with incessant house chores, kid’s appointments and after-school activities. ‘’ How would I cope,” I wondered.  The pressure was so much that at some point I felt It was a luxury to sit down to rest.

God’s word became my life support. I literally depended on God’s word as a lifeline. I dreaded leaving the house without spending quality time in the Word and in prayer, realizing my sanity in relating with my kids, husband, and others depended on it.

God was gracious to me in my studies. I made very good grades and didn’t have to retake any courses. Even when others dropped out because of school pressure, God upheld me.

 

 

In the 3rd semester, during an internship with a company, I needed to deliver two reports. In addition to that, I was taking an elective (minor) in a programming course that was way out of my depth. As time began to run out for my deliverables, I started feeling the weight of my tasks pulling down on me.

 

I started doubting, “Will I ever get past this study?, will I have to defer this study again?” In those times, the Lord spoke to my heart.  He said,“ I  give power to the weak and to those who have no might —no willingness—I increase strength” — Isaiah 40:29. He also said to me that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Empowered by those words, I found the strength to persist. As a result, I delivered a very good report which the company was impressed with. I also passed the elective course.

 

I quit

The boiling point was in the final semester when I was writing my thesis. Pressed for time and strained from the rigorous research and writing, I began to think of quitting. “I’m done trying”. I was exhausted and left with no strength for one more day. What do you do when you’ve lost your will to persevere?

Hauled in this dark pit of despair, I cried to God that night for strength. God responded by giving me an encouraging dream: I saw myself running along with some people. As we got to a large ditch, while others crossed over, I couldn’t.

Overwhelmed by the size of the ditch, I turned to go back. Just then I thought, “ I’ve come so far to go back”. As I cried in the dream, and then suddenly, an invisible force lifted up and I crossed over to the other side.

I woke up so encouraged that the next time I sat to write, I pictured myself overcoming and finishing the thesis. As a result, I successfully finished and defended my thesis with a B grade. Indeed, It was a long bumpy ride but absolutely worth it.

 

My Takeaways.

  • Flee from Complaining and Negative talking, instead, confess God’s Word. With so much strain on the marriage and family, Philippians 2:14 reminded me that complaining made me guilty.  I was reminded of the need to confess God’s word in every situation —My husband’s actions, my tiredness, my school assignments, kids acting out, my negative thoughts. Instead of speaking my frustrating state, I must speak what God sees in the situation. For the righteous live by faith and not by sight (IICorinthians 5:7)

 

  • God is Concerned about our Attitudes as we journey to our Goals. He is more interested in our character more than He is interested in what we “achieve”. God’s word is the chief transformer. A well-fed soul will produce a good character.

 

  • God Delights in Turning our Difficult Situations for our good. For any number of reasons, we find ourselves in different situations. Yet God is in perfect Control of everything including the “mistakes” of our lives. Commit everything over to Him and trust daily in his leading. He makes ALL things work together for those who Love Him. (Romans 8:28)

 

  • With humility and persistence, we can achieve all we set our minds to do. A Humble person acknowledges they can do nothing of lasting value without Gods help; It’s an attitude of utter reliance on God. We must realize that All our abilities and strength comes from God. He helps us do “difficult” things.

Blessings!

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