Thursday, February 20, 2014

I Celebrate You

Last weekend was about celebrating our loved ones, the significant people in our lives.

I am taking it a notch further this week. I had a period of reflection as I laid on my bed after arousing from sleep on Wednesday morning, and my mind went to some relationships I have had the opportunity to forge over the past years and recently too. I took special note of some in particular.

The more I pondered on these relationships, the more praise overflowed from my heart until songs of praise burst from my lips. I felt truly loved by God Who in His infinite wisdom connected my life with different groups of people who have become tremendous blessings to me. Here are two of them:

1. Long-term old friends. These are friends that I have known for many decades but have not seen for many years. Yet, at a phone call they are ready and willing to give a helping hand. I will cite some examples later.
2. Friends I made over the internet or through other friends who I have not had the opportunity to meet face-to-face, yet they have impacted me in a remarkable way.

Let me share some of the stories:

I was connected with AH through a long-term couple-friends of mine. My friend had raised a prayer request on my behalf in her prayer group in Seattle. One of the ladies eventually moved to Europe and my friend connected us. We kept in touch by email. She and her family later relocated back to US. A couple of years ago when my son was going to college, I emailed her and told her my husband and son were coming to US. I could not travel with them, to settle my son in college because of my medical situation. Not only did she accommodate my family during that period, she helped them with all the college shopping and transferred my son’s stuff to the campus. My son has a place to stay in her home whenever he is transiting between school and home. I am yet to meet her. I thank God for blessing me with such a generous friend.

I have seen my Chief Bridesmaid only twice since 1992. But we have maintained our friendship via phone calls, emails and over the internet. She has been a tremendous help and blessing to me. At a phone call, she will make herself available to me to help sort out one thing or the other, and this has happened more times than I could list or write about here. She is one of the many great friends I have abroad who have positioned themselves to be a helper and a blessing to my family and me. They offer their homes to my children and my husband during many travels. My children indeed have lost count of the number of non-biological aunties and uncles they have spread all over the world.

My husband and my friend who I had not seen since 2006 pulled a shocking surprise on me last Sunday, when she appeared besides me in church. My jaws literally dropped. I spoke with her the day before, she did not let on at all. Through her, I became connected with another lady who put herself at my mother’s disposal to be of great assistance to her. The lady left a lasting impression on my mother. The network of generous helpers just keep expanding.

I have yet another friend whom I have never met. The only contact I have with her is over the internet. I still cannot remember how I stumbled on her blog where she share creatively crafted poems, haikus and short stories. But she has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to me. She visits my blog regularly and leaves a comment. Each time I read her comment, I simply bless God. Writing can be a lonely experience at times, you spend a lot of time on your own staring at the screen. As a Christian writer, you pour hours into your writing driven by the desire to reach the world with messages that reflect the light of God’s glory and touch lives for good. Each time, I post a blog or share a piece of my writing, it is with a prayer that God would use the words He gave me to touch at least one life.

When friends write back or tell me that the message was timely, they gained from it or they were touched by it, my heart sings for joy. Why? Because it confirms to me that I heard God right on that one. Secondly, it is an affirmation that God hears my prayer that the words I have written will minister to someone at precisely the time in their lives when they need it. Thirdly, it is a honor to be used by God to fulfill His purpose and a joy to know you are fulfilling your calling. It is particularly touching when such messages come from people I have never met or seen before. God is truly awesome.

I share my story here on the blog. God has given me special blessings, trials and challenges unique to me. It will never cease to amaze me how these resonate with those who read what I share here. To the extent that I can joyfully thank God that my pains are not in vain. It is for the gain of others. Because God comforts us in our trials and tribulations, so that we may be able to comfort others in their troubles with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted (2Cor. 1: 3-5).

I have made numerous friends through the Writers’ groups and websites I subscribe to, through a foodie group I belong to on Facebook (So You Think You Can Cook), and Bead Jewelry makers whose creative work inspires me. I got connected with most of them through the internet and many have gone out of their way to share very useful tips, suggestions and “insider” information. They willing pointed me in the right direction at no personal benefit. I salute them for their generosity.

It is a privilege and honor to be blessed with such dear friends I can call at a time of need, who would respond positively and rise up to be my helper and friend in deed. Many times, I know that it is not out of convenience that the help is offered and given, it is often at a sacrifice. It is only God Who can reward them with the good measures, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

There are those wonderful friends who pray for me, pray with me and simply take it upon themselves to hold on to the hands of God on my behalf.  You are precious gems of God’s glory. I bless God for you.

After I spent time thanking and praising God for all these numerous relationships He graced my life with, I was truly awed at God’s awesome goodness.

Today, I celebrate all my friends and all those my life have been linked with for one purpose or the other as designed by God. Each of you in your unique ways made me more and more appreciative of God working in mysterious ways His wonders to perform in our lives.

A study of Jonathan’s love for David is illuminating (1Sam 18-20). It is a great example of selfless and heroic love. I cannot begin to write about the selfless and sacrificial love my friends have shown towards me. 

Today, I want to celebrate every one of you, I am honored to call friend.

What did I learn from these reflections?

It is that one of the ways to keep friendships strong is to actively nurture them. Friendships require nurturing by the parties involved in it. It simply doesn't just happen. Here are some of the ways you can nurture your relationship:
- Pray for one another
Be present in the relationship. Even when you are separated by thousands of kilometers, with a little effort you can stay in touch with each other.
- Be the best you can be for each other. 
-  Act in their best interest.

To you, my dear friend, especially those I have not met yet or seen in a long time, I say, I look forward to seeing you someday soon if the Lord wills. If not, I hope to see you before the throne of grace. Be sure to be present there.

In what ways are you nurturing your relationships? Share with us in the comment box below and bless someone.

“Dear Heavenly Father, 
let the words that I write today reach one person with Your love and grace.” 
-  Deb Kastner (31 Devotions For Writers).


  1. For Irene Olumese, a Sista and a friend I am also most grateful... Love you girl!

    1. I celebrate you, my dear Sista and friend. You are on my radar :-)). Blessings to you.

  2. I am deeply touched by this inspiring piece. God has blessed me too with friends who have beeen there for me. Aunty Funke thanks for sharing with me too, God bless u ma. TeeY.

    1. TeeY, thanks for your visit to the blog and for your encouraging comments. Praise be to God Who richly bless us with great friends. Blessings to you.

  3. Ow, Irene, I'm humbled. I thank you so much for thinking of me and counting me amongst your friends. This means so much to me. God bless you and fulfill all your heart's desires, dear Irene.

    1. Amen and amen. May The Lord grant all your heart's desire according to His will for you. You are my friend. I hope to meet you someday soon. Until then, remain blessed.

  4. Reading the post first reminds me to not neglect the great times of reflection that i always had as it is from there i really get insights into what God has in miind for me. People are really important in our lives for without them , we do not exist. Thanks for staying true and sharing your heart. i got your response on facebook and have also replied. God bless you

    1. Thank you very much do your visit and kind words. God bless you richly.


Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and comments. I appreciate you. God bless you.