Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What Next?


I have not blogged in a very long while. I have watched months fly past without turning the dream of writing consistently into action. If it were possible for thoughts to transcribe into words without a determined action on my part, I would have automated my writing. But that is not possible, at least not yet.

2017 has been a busy year beyond my imagination. I have juggled many balls in the air. I managed to keep some afloat. I dropped quite a few. Blogging, unfortunately, is one of the balls that I dropped against my best intentions, despite having three platforms that provides me with the opportunities to blog and share to inspire hope and enrich lives.

Having acknowledged my shortcomings and trusting you to forgive me for not connecting with you as promised, let me count my blessings in 2017 and be grateful for the many balls I have been able to keep afloat by the grace of God.

The Book, Grace In The Storms, is going to places beyond my imagination. I know that at least 1000 printed copies are out there. I am super grateful to God for His faithfulness, and for the lives, He is using the Book to touch. The feedback received has truly touched my heart and humbled me.

We held several Grace In The Storms Events and had many opportunities to share the story in Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and Nigeria. These were avenues to share the testimony of God’s sustaining grace and to present the Book to a wider audience. I am simply awed at what God is doing with the story He has scripted of my life and the many doors He is using the story to open to me.

My instruction was to go and share the story at every place He will open the doors to me. He had not ceased to amaze me with the way He is fulfilling His part of the bargain. The Feet of Grace is taking me to places my natural feet could not have taken me.

The Feet of Grace Foundation has almost fully engaged my attention and occupied my time. We set out to make the ONE DREAM of living life without limits come true for TEN AMPUTEES in 2017. It has not been a mean feat. There have been several times that I had to pause, and I wondered how this would come to pass; “how would it be?” The support did not come from the places that I had envisaged and expected. Support and help came through many unexpected channels I could never have dreamt of.

My heart rejoices with praise as I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God. He simply pushed me to keep my focus on Him. He keeps reminding me that when He gives an assignment, He makes provision for it. The Annual Charity Walk took place in more locations in 2017 to include Kenya and Uganda in addition to the earlier locations we had in Nigeria, United Kingdom, United States and Switzerland. So far, support has been provided to procure prosthetic limbs for Seven amputees in 2017. Seven almost done, three to go. Together we can make this one dream come true for all the ten amputees.

In addition to the above, I now have a Live Video session of Inspiring Hope on My Facebook Page every Friday evening. I share messages of Grace and Hope to inspire others in their journeys especially those facing adversities and life-challenges.

The work has been intense. The grace has been generous.

But amid these, one question keeps gnawing my spirit—What Next?

What next as a wife after 25 years of marriage?
My husband and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary last April with praise and thanksgiving to God, and with many testimonies. It can only get better. Where do I need to make improvements? What can I do better to keep my marriage fresh, vibrant and exciting for both my husband and me? How are we doing with pursuing and fulfilling the purpose for which God brought us together as husband and wife? I don’t want my marriage to settle into the rut of routines. I do not want us to settle on the sofa of staleness. I am taking time to reflect our shared interests and common goal and vision for our marriage.

What next as a mother of two adult sons who no longer need me to parent them daily?
My first son is now an Engineering graduate, carving out his life and making life decisions. My second son is a junior in the university. Both are living between 6700km to 9450km from home. Parenting them is redefined. My role is becoming more of a counselor and adviser on a faraway stage, and a prayer warrior behind the scenes. As much as I want to be a part of their daily life, they seem to be getting on just fine without me mothering them.

What next as an entrepreneur?
My desire to be a contributing partner to my family finances has not waned despite the years of inability to earn a regular income on health grounds. The vats of needs are huge. The desire to be an inexhaustible conduit of God’s blessing is compelling. What I see in the pipeline cannot meet the needs. I am again and again learning to trust God for His provision. He brought us this far. He has been our sufficiency. I am asking God and myself, what can I do differently to generate the much-needed income. How can I be a more faithful steward of the resources available to me? How can I best position and manage my business so that it can generate consistent income? How do I carve out the time to production in my already crowded agenda? Which of my skills can I monetize to generate income? The questions seem endless.

What next as a Writer?
The books longing to be written and the manuscripts waiting to be completed have refused to let go of their hold on my heart. I cannot miss the unusual ways God is reminding me that I have several uncompleted writing assignments. Wishing will not write the Books. They will only get written when I make time to sit and write. My starting point is writing this blog with renewed commitment.

What next as an Inspirational Speaker?
Knowing where God wants me to be at each point in time is an imperative. I cannot afford to miss the opportunity that God opens to me neither can I afford to go where He has not sent me.

What next as God’s handmaiden positioned at this place and at this time for an only-me-can-fulfill purpose in God’s Kingdom agenda?

Truly, I am in the “What Next?” phase of life. Knowing and understanding the will of God for my life at this phase is critical. Clarifying my God-given vision and the steps needed to accomplish is an imperative I cannot afford to overlook.

I am taking time to seek God’s face. I am listening for His instructions. I am willing to submit to His leading, to trust Him and to obey Him. At the beginning of 2017, my watchword was “Listen, Trust and Obey.” It is obvious that God is not done with teaching me to listen for His instructions, to trust in His ability to take me to where He wants me to be, and to simply obey Him.

Perhaps, you are also in that phase where you strongly desire to know which direction God wants you to go. Then, you are in the right place to pull the plug on yourself and retreat into God’s presence. Silence the noise of the world around you, tune your ears to listen and hear God’s voice. Wait in His presence for instructions. You are in the waiting room—the place where God is preparing you for your next season.

That is where I am now—clarifying God’s calling on my life and His purpose and directions for my next season. I am confident that there is grace available for this phase—the grace that keeps me through the tests needed to refine and prepare me for the next season. I am tapping into the super-abundant grace. I encourage you to do so. That grace enables you to do what you cannot do in your human capacity. It is grace that will keep you sitting still to listen when your instinct is to engage and get even busier.

Receive today, the grace to retreat to recalibrate, renew, refocus and refresh in preparation for your next season.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Joy Of A Dream Come True

The joy of a dream come true is beyond description. My heart overflowed with praise and tears even rolled down my cheeks. It was pure joy. A long drawn out dream finally came to pass.

It has been a very long time since I posted a blog here. For those who have been long with me, you know already that I wanted to transition this Blog to the Feet of Grace Foundation website so that it would be easier to manage all the blog posts from one website. But the time I have spent here and the connections made hold a special place in my heart. You will also know that I had an assignment, which was pending for a very long time. Indeed, it has been my earnest desire and dream to finishing writing my story into a Book. 

I am greatly delighted to announce that Grace In The Storm – A Living Proof is now published.  The journey has been long and tortuous, just like the story behind the Book. Both the story behind the Book and the writing of the Book are testimonials of God amazing grace and faithfulness. My heart is full of thanks and praise to God for His awesome goodness for bringing this dream to pass.

The writing of Grace In The Storms took thirteen years. For several years, I didn’t even know how to present the story or how to end it. I wanted to the story to speak of the victory that God brings to bear in the lives of His people. I wanted the story to present a testimony that requires no explanation. I wanted those who knew me in the years of the storms to see a change that will cause them to acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God in my life; “they were amazed and astonished at the greatness of God.” And all the people who see me will give praise to God and glorify His name. God brought that change about in 2013 with yet another twist to it. That twist resulted in the establishment of the Feet of Grace Foundation.

The Book is selling via several outlets in Nigeria and Switzerland. It is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle edition. 

There will be a promotional campaign on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk from April 9th to 11th, 2017 during which the Kindle Version will be available at a reduced price.

Please find the Amazon link below:


Grace In The Storms...A Living Proof - Kindle Edition

Not only is the Book now on sales, I am also pleased to announce to you that my personal website is also up and running. I invite you to check out Irene T. Olumese website where I speak and write to inspire hope for those going through life's challenging situations in whatever form.

My life story may have several chapters of pain, misery and distress but it is not a tragedy. It has been come an opportunity to inspire hope and encourage those going through difficult and challenging situations. I believe there is at least one person waiting at the end of our dark tunnel to light their candles from ours. That is why we must keep hope alive while we go through the storms. 

The good news is that God's grace is abundantly available to enable, energize and empower us, and finally bring us out on the other side to the place where victory is made manifest. My word of encouragement to you today is this; persevere in hope until you see the desires of your heart manifested. Don’t give up on hope. Don’t give yourself the permission to quit when the journey becomes tough and  is full of twists, turns and bends. Stay focused on the goal. Keep an relentless and unyielding grip on the hope of seeing your dream come true. I don’t know how long it will take but I can assure you that if this is in line with the will of God for you, He will bring it to pass, come what may.

Ultimately, God gets all the glory and honour and adoration. That is the whole purpose of our existence; to bring glory to God when we fulfill His calling on our lives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

O For a Thousand Tongues To Sing

I remember in 1999, my doctors told me that in just a few years down the road I would have to be in the wheelchair for the rest of my life, requiring support for day-to-day basic activities.

Here am I today, shouting and screaming praises to God.

I remember in 2013, the surgeon told me that my medical history presented a constellation of risks for doing the surgery that was the only medical option left for me to have a chance at living a quality life again. He determined that I could bleed to death on the operating table.

Here am I today, shouting and screaming praises to God.

I remember a few years ago, I laid on the black leather sofa in my sitting room and I thought of Saturday, October 1st, 2016. My physical realities then indicated that it would be nothing short of a miracle to still be here in the land of the living on this special day of my life.

Here am I today, heaping praises on God.

I remember when the label of affliction screamed louder than a gigantic billboard along a highway. It was God Who delivered me for its shame.

Here am I today, dancing and giving thanks to God.

I remember when living was difficult and the future looked bleak, it was God who delivered me from death. He brought me through the valley of the shadow of death.

He restored me. He sustained me. He secured me.

I will remember. I will remember the wonderful works of His hands.

I will stop and give Him praise.

Why?

Because He is a faithful God.

For the past few weeks, I wondered, I pondered; what can I render to God for His amazing grace that 

He caused to abound to me from the day I was conceived until this day.

What can I offer to Him for His unending love?

How can I thank Him ever thank Him enough for all He has done for me?

What shall I say to the Lord for steadfast faithfulness to me?

All I have to say is, “Thank You, God.”

So here am I to sing thanks and praises to God.

But if the more than 600,000 strands of hair on my scalp are made of tongues, they simply cannot be enough to recount all the many acts of wonder God has performed in my life for the past 50 years since I made my entrance into the world.

Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) must have been in the same position as I am right now when he composed the hymn below:

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of His grace!

This hymn succinctly expresses the depth of my gratitude and my earnest desire to let God know just how much I am grateful for who He has been to me. The triumphs of His amazing grace in my life is a book worth writing. I could write volumes on the triumphs of the grace and mercy of God manifested in my life.

During the next few days leading to my 50th birthday on October 1st, what I desire to do is to employ a thousand tongues to join me to spread through all the earth abroad, the honors of His name. Join me to heap praise on God.



I will stop, take time and lavish extravagant praise on God, for great is God’s faithfulness and amazing grace to me.

I invite you who know my story to join me; let’s raise together a thousand tongues to sing the praises of my great Redeemer.


This blog post was inspired by the following hymn and songs:
1. O for a thousand tongues by Charles Wesley
2. Na You by Frank Edward
3. We will remember by Tommy Walker

Friday, April 8, 2016

Spring to Newness of Life

We tend to appreciate more what we long for but don’t have.

We appreciate more what we have lost or almost lost, when it is restored back to us.

We appreciate light when it is restored after a period of darkness. Our hearts are elated when we go through a dark tunnel and come out into light

We appreciate life when we come face to face with the stack reality of its brevity

We appreciate the warmth of the spring after the harsh cold winter.

When we peel off the layers of woolen clothing and step out into the radiant beams of sunshine warming our faces, the gentle breeze caressing our exposed skin and the extra light of longer days, we appreciate the arrival of a new season and its promise of a new beginning—new possibilities.

Spring is certainly on us. The seeds buried in the darkness under the soil are springing forth into light. Luscious green leaves are beginning to cover the once grey and twiggy trees.


I love April for these reasons and many more. It is also an unmissable reminder that one quarter of the year has flown past.

During an ice-breaker session in a conference, I was asked which is my favorite month of the year and why?

“April and October.” My answer was spontaneous.

Why?
I got married to the most admirable heaven-sent gift of a man on April 23rd, 1992.

Someone gave me one of the most precious gifts I have ever received in my life in April 2013, which gave me the opportunity of a second chance in life.

It was in April that I went to the darkest and scariest places of my life. I went into the deep pit but God delivered my soul from the place of death and brought me back to the place of light and life.

April will remain a constant reminder of the two who died for me; my Lord and Saviour who gave His life for me on the cross, and my unknown benefactor who gave me the precious gift of lungs, which God is using to keep alive—living full and vibrant life.


To whom much is given, much is required. I have been give much. So the month of April is also a reminder of my commitment to give back. It is a solemn celebration of life.

Read on Spring to Newness of Life at the Feet of Grace Foundation Website.

We are getting set for the Second Annual Feet of Grace Charity Walk tagged Hit The Street For Their Feet 2016. See flyer below. 
For more information, please visit the Feet of Grace Foundation Website.
Walk with us or support us to walk. Together, we can make the dreams of six amputees come true in 2016.




Saturday, February 13, 2016

Because I am

Love is in the air. It is that time again when we go the extra mile to express our love to our loved ones in words and action. Let me say upfront that I am a firm believer that while Valentine's Day provides us with an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our love to those we are in a relationship with, this reaffirmation can and should not be a once-a-year event. 

It is a reaffirmation we need to give to each other at every opportunity whether the relationship is between those in love like husbands and wives or between parents and their children or between friends who share life together. I read somewhere a short while ago that children need at least four hugs a day for survival. We thrive on the assurance that we are loved, wanted and cared for by our loved ones. 

Continue reading Because I am at the Feet of Grace Website.

I wish you a Happy Valentine