Friday, December 11, 2015

The Dawn Of A New Day

"Behold, I am doing a new thing. Now it shall spring forth (come to light); 
can you not perceive and know it and give heed to it?" 
Isaiah 43:19.

A new day is a promise of new possibilities. It is a proclamation of new beginnings. It is a new era. The dawn of a new day encourages us to get ready to see long-harbored expectations and aspirations made manifested in every sphere of our lives. These and more were the definitions of a new day expounded by Pastor Mark Mordi on Sunday, December 6th in Zurich.

The message caught fire in my spirit and raised my level of expectations to see the manifestations of the goodness of God in our lives in a brand new way as 2015 rolls to an end. Even much more, I am fired up to look into 2016 with greater hope and anticipation.

I long and desire to see the brilliance of the glory of God and the Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ, illuminating every corner and every sphere of my life and of the lives of all my loved ones. I long to see it radiating to touch the lives of everyone in our sphere of influence.

Indeed, a new beginning has dawned for the Feet of Grace Foundation. In my blog post of March 6th, 2015, Feet Of Grace In Motion, I shared with you how the idea to start the Foundation was conceived following the amputation of my feet in May 2013. I nurtured the dream of seeing the Foundation impacting lives in ways far beyond my imagination, reaching out to people far and wide.

The dream is coming to pass, and it is daily unfolding what God wants to do through the Feet of Grace Foundation. So, it is with great pleasure and gratitude to God that I announce that the Feet Of Grace Foundation website is now live. See it at http://feetofgracefoundation.org/

The dawn of a new day also means a change from where we were before. Therefore, the blog, Enriching Lives. Inspiring Hope will  relocate from this site to the Feet of Grace Foundation Website. News and information about the activities of the Foundation  will be posted from the new site. I will continue to share my story and testimonies of the amazing goodness of God in our lives at the new site.

To facilitate smooth transition, I will post a notice here each time there is a blog post at the new website and point you toward it. We will also export the mailing list for subscription there so that you can continue to receive the blog post by email. To this end, all the subscribers at this site and those on my mailing list will receive a notice welcoming you to the new site shortly.

In the long-term, my posting on this current site will be limited to messages to enrich relationships especially for those married and preparing for marriage, as the Lord gives me the grace.

Thank you for sharing this space with me for the past three years. I am looking forward to welcoming you to the new site.

Upcoming Events:

Shop With Purpose Christmas Charity Bazaar holds in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday, December 12th, 2015. The purpose is to raise funds to support two physically-challenged women and put a smile on their faces this Christmas.



Joy lost her right arm in an accident. She needs a prosthetic arm and an income-generating activity.

Ana is a wheel-chair bound widow with children. She needs a new wheelchair and an income-generating activity to support her family.

About fifty friends from fourteen countries have contributed over four hundred new gift items which will be sold at the bazaar. If you are in Geneva area, please join us. Make your Christmas Shopping a double impact of blessings; for your loved ones and for these two dear daughters of God. Proceeds from the sales of these donated items will be used to support Joy and Ana.

Venue: Salle Presbytere, Route de Sauverny 7, Versoix 1290, Geneva.

Together, we will bring about the dawn of a new day of new possibilities for these women. Please contact me if you would like to contribute towards this initiative.

Many thanks to all of you who donated the gift items. May the Lord richly bless and reward you with the good measures and the overflowing. Your amazing generosity is much appreciated and valued.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Quest To See And Value Your Amazingness – Part 2

Watch what you are seeing or focusing your attention on. Because what you focus your attention on feeds your mind and what you think about the most affects your attitude.

When we focus our attention on the things we don’t have yet, we miss the opportunity to be grateful for the things we have. We miss the amazing goodness of God on display in our lives every day when we grumble and complain about the things we want and have yet to receive.

In the first part of this blog post, I shared an example of how I failed to take note of the amazingness of my husband while focussing more on what I desired of him. My husband champions my cause. He promotes my interest, and he acts with my best interest at heart. It is very easy to miss the many quiet and seemly little ways he does this. And in missing them, I also fail to acknowledge and appreciate them. This can happen to any of us, even with the best intentions, if we have not made a conscious and deliberate decision to pay attention to the good in our spouse; to seek to see and value the unique and amazing things they do, which we often take for granted.

Our arch-enemy, the devil, is hell-bent on attacking Christian marriages. And it seems unwittingly, we are collaborating with him. We are not fighting a good fight for our marriages. We have become lethargic and slothful in this battle to erode the foundation of Christian marriage. A friend once said to me that we, the Christians, are no longer making marriages attractive. The world cannot seem to see the difference between us who professes to have God as the cornerstone of our marriage and those who don’t.

A Conscious Decision:
Craig Groeschel in his article; “It can be as good as you decide” made a profound statement that he and his wife decided their marriage will be as good as they decide it to be. They decided. They made the decision that come what may; their marriage will be good. It was a deliberate, conscious decision. They decided that they would seek God together, pray together and put God first. They decided that they would always fight towards resolution instead of towards winning, which left plenty of room for forgiveness and love. Simply put, they decided that they will make their marriage as good as they can for each other with the help of God.

They, the two of them, decided. It is taking both of them working together as one. They chose a focus for their marriage. They decided what they were going to allow to guide their attention and what will keep them working at making their marriage work.

You can decide how good your marriage will be. That is the starting point. It becomes the guiding principle for the marriage; that through the storms and the struggles we will do everything in our power to make our marriage good.

A critical element of making our marriage good is seeking to see the good in our spouse. It is paying attention to the good and unique qualities in them, acknowledging it, appreciating it and thanking God for it.

“One of the greatest secrets to a happy marriage is gratitude. Thankfulness. An overt recognition of your spouse’s amazingness” – Shauna Feldhahn.

What You Are Thinking About Matters:
You see, what you focus your attention on about your spouse will feed your thoughts about him/her—what you will be meditating on about your spouse. Eventually, what you are thinking about the most about your spouse will affect your attitude towards him/her. If your mind is filled with negative thoughts about your spouse, you will become emotionally disconnected with him/her. That will create a gap between the two of you.

Take a moment to ponder on this. Very often we find ourselves moody, cranky and sour towards our spouses. Check what you had been meditating on before your mood became foul and sour. It is most likely that you have been meditating on your spouse’s shortcomings, and weaknesses, and before long you are building an argument ready to react to him/her on the issue. Sometimes, what you are building an argument against in your heart has not even happen yet. It is simply an outcome of the subtle suggestions of the enemy. If you don’t pay attention to the negative suggestions that the enemy drops in your mind but spend time mulling over these negative suggestions, they will take root and begin to sour your attitude.

When the enemy turned on the bad channel, we need to consciously change the channel and keep changing it even when it appeared that it is automatically reverting to the bad channel. You actively change the channel by fixing your thoughts on what is right, true, pure, honourable, excellent, and of good report. Then you go a step further, and you speak it out so your ears can hear the truth of God’s Word against the lies suggested by the enemy.

Seek to see good:
Quit complaining, nagging and focusing on what your spouse is not doing right and where he/she is yet to come to par. But start taking note of and appreciating the good qualities in your spouse—there must be some if you have chosen to marry him/her. It is when you begin to notice the amazingness of your spouse, acknowledging and appreciating it that you will be able to draw out the other good qualities you desire to see in your spouse. The more we neglect to see and appreciate the good that is present now in our spouses, the less we are likely to attract the good we want to see in them. 

When we make a conscious and deliberate effort to value the amazing qualities in our spouses, it helps us to expect and have the confident hope that these qualities will show up in their lives and impact our relationship. You simply need to have eyes that seek to find the good in your spouse and be keenly aware of their amazing value or attributes. Train your eyes to see the good in your spouse and watch that good revealed at every turn. Take note of it when it is revealed and go the extra mile to acknowledge and appreciate it.

Bridging the gulf
Are there dark corners in your life and your relationships? Areas where you are not open and honest with each other, where you have hidden stuff from each other. When you have such dark corners in your relationship, it cannot be truly illuminated, flooded with light as it ought to be so that you can be deeply and truly intimate with each other.

These dark corners bring tension into the relationship and often obliterate our vision and prevents us from seeing the true value and amazingness of our spouse. They fester as they become a cesspool of filth the enemy dumps on our minds about our spouse and our relationship. Therefore, a quest to see and value your spouse amazingness requires that you have open and honest conversations so that you can deal with those dark areas that have created a gulf between you.

To have the kind of marriage that God desires for us to have, both husband and wife will have to do their fair share of forgiving. Especially forgiving what will be considered unforgivable. Perhaps, your relationship has gone sour—your spouse has broken faith, and you have experienced betrayal. Maybe you are at the point of giving up on the marriage, and you simply cannot see good anymore. This is also a pivotal point to put forgiveness into action. Forgiving the unforgivable is reflecting the forgiving nature of our God who forgave us our sins while we were still yet sinners. Whatever the outcome, forgiving your spouse will be liberating for you.

“Marriage means persevering. It means never giving up on each other.”

The principles shared in this blog post applies to all our relationships. When we complain and grumble about the things that are not going right, and we see only the things our children, our friends and government are not doing right, we will fail to see the good in anyone or situation. We, therefore, cannot be thankful for what we fail to see.

This is even more important in our relationship with God. Do you have an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness that seeks to see the goodness of God daily and in every situation even when it seems hard? An attitude of gratitude and a mindset that seeks to see good will attract God’s favour towards us. Seek to see God's goodness each day even when it seems least visible and you will find His goodness functioning at its best on your behalf.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the United States.

Let’s all develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving as we seek to see and value the amazingness of God in our lives and in the lives of our loved ones.

This post is dedicated to the my amazing husband. I am blessed to have you in my life. You are much loved, valued and appreciated.



Friday, November 13, 2015

A Quest To See And Value Your Amazingness Part 1

It has been a long while since I wrote to enrich marriages. I have not lost sight of this part of my commitment to my readers to enrich relationships, especially marriages. I stumbled on some quotes and messages in the past few weeks coupled with my personal experience that brought enriching relationships back to the front burner. I will share in this post nuggets I have gleaned from these purposeful enlightening experience.

Paul’s prayer in the Book of Ephesians struck me, and I found it instructive for this post. I will paraphrase Chapter 1 verse 18 as follows;
"I pray that your eyes of understanding will be focused, clear and enlightened (your hearts will be flooded with light) so that you may see exactly God is calling you to do, and know and understand the confident hope He has given to those He called;"

In verse 17, Paul prayed that Jesus Christ will give us spiritual wisdom and insight, making us intelligent and discerning so that we may grow in our knowledge of God; knowing Him personally, deeply and intimately.

We need spiritual wisdom and insight to know God intimately. We need to have our eyes sharpened and focussed to see the goodness of God in our every waking moment. It is very easy for our vision to be obscured by the challenges, adversities and problems we have in life that we fail to take note of, acknowledge and appreciate the goodness of God; we often to fail to pay attention to the good that God is doing in our lives each day. In failing to do so, we also fail to appreciate God and give thanks, praise and adoration to Him for His wonderful deeds. We also fail to give Him the glory due to Him. 

This lack of gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness hinders a close and intimate relationship with God. Because we will tend to complain and grumble more about the things we are yet to have or receive from God.

Seek To See Good:
We need to seek to see God's goodness each day even when it seems least visible, and we will find His goodness functioning at its best on our behalf. We have to train our eyes to see the good God richly pours out even in the midst of our trials. When we do so will see good revealed at every turn. If we don’t make a concerted and deliberate effort to see the good in our lives each day, our eyes and minds will always focus on the part of the cup that is empty and we will miss the many blessings already in the cup.

This truth is also applicable to our relationships. So often, we fail to see the good in the lives of those God has brought into our lives; these could be our spouses, siblings, friends, etc. While my emphasis in this blog will be on our relationship with our spouse, this principle is relevant to all our relationships.

A dear Senior Sista-Friend shared with me recently The UCB Word for Today devotional titled “Strengthen Your Marriage.” In this devotional, a couple celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary shared three Cs that helped to strengthen their marriage.
1.       Commitment – putting the other person first
2.       Concern – genuinely seeking to find out what your spouse needs. “Because husbands and wives are as different as cheese and chalk.”
3.       Coping – “We can work it out.” You cannot always avoid conflict, but you can make it work for you.

A statement in the devotional caught fire in my spirit; “Closeness in marriage is not an accident; it is a decision you make, and keep making each day.”

I am strongly persuaded that one of the most important ways to develop emotional and spiritual intimacy in our marriage, and ultimately physical intimacy, is a quest to see and appreciate the good in our spouse. Beyond that, also to acknowledge and appreciate the good we see irrespective of the other changes our hearts desire to see in them. It is amazing what we can see and how much we can see when we give more than a cursory look and give attention to details.

Let me share my story with you to illustrate this point:
It was one of those weeks when so many things had to happen at the same time. It was also one of those weeks that my husband was at home in between long travels. We sat across each other on our dining table made of thousands of green glass smithereens sandwiched between two slabs of solid glass. The glass top dining table continues to be a source of inspiration to me and amazement to everyone who pays attention to it. Its uniqueness becomes more obvious as you take a closer look.

I was working with an intense focus on a protocol due for submission in less than 24 hours. My husband was also intently focused on the pile of envelopes on one side of his laptop, which he moved to the other side after working on the content of each envelope. I looked up occasionally from my laptop, wanting to catch his eyes on me or catch him looking at me with a smile. It didn’t happen. So I continued with my work.

Suddenly, my nerves fired shots of electricity through my right stump, and I winced in pain. Repeated firings had me groaning out loud. I looked across the table at my husband. He was so wrapped up in what he was doing that he didn’t hear me groaning.

So I kicked him with my left leg under the table. His head shot up, and he looked straight at me;
“What?!”
“You are not paying attention to me.”
He furrowed his brow. His eyes bore into mine. I winced again as another shot fired up my stump.
“My stump… Electric shocks…”
“Oh, sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t hear you.” His face lightened up, and the furrow disappeared.

The firing finally stopped. He continued with what he was doing. I continued for a while,then paused to look at him. That was when I noticed the pile on the right side had reduced while the pile on the left side mounted up. I knew what he was doing all the while. We had discussed it before he started and he asked for some clarifications as he worked. All of a sudden, the eyes of my understanding was illuminated; I realised what I had come to take for granted.

My husband was paying bills. He was crunching numbers. He was making decisions on what has to be paid, what can be paid and what would have to wait another month. He has been doing this for years. We became a single-income family when I stopped working and earning regular income at the end of 2007 because my health went downhill. It was a big deal and a huge concern for me, not to be able to contribute towards our family income in a significant way. But I would compile the bills ready for discussion and decision since I was at home all day and the one who takes receipt of the bills. In the last year leading to the lungs transplantation and the amputation of my legs, I could not even do this, and my husband had to take over completely, sorting and attending to the bills. While we discuss major stuff and pray together for God to supply our needs. Somehow, God makes provision for the huge pile of bills that comes in every month to get paid and to sustain us. The salary was just not enough.

So while I was getting angry at my husband for not paying the kind of attention I wanted to me, after all it was just the two of us at home, he was paying intent attention to keep us financially afloat. And I almost missed the intense effort he puts in every month to get it done, despite his heavy workload and frequent travels.

When we discussed the incidence later, I realized that I also missed one of the good that God did for us this year. For the past several years, my medical bills ran into many multiple hundreds of thousands Swiss francs. But in 2015, we had paid only a minute fraction in medical bills compared with the previous years. A huge hole in our finances had been sealed.

I knew more than ever before that I needed to retrain my eyes to focus on the awesome goodness of God, which He daily pour out on us. I also knew that I needed to have my eyes sharpened and focussed to see and value the amazingness of my husband; not once in all these years had he ever complained about the huge burden my medical issues had posed to our lives and our finances.

To be continued in Part 2.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Anchor For The Storms

“The LORD redeems the soul of His servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” – Ps 34:22

It is so uplifting and such a blessing to know that we have a God Who will never leave any of His own children desolate in the midst of the storm or in the times of hardship or adversity. Desolate, in the sense that one feels abandoned and devoid of help, hope and comfort. He always steps in to rescue us.

My experience during the month of October proved this to me beyond imagination, and it also confirmed to me that God always prepares an anchor ready to hold us fast to Himself so that we are not swept away by the fury of the storms of life. He reveals these anchors as we dwell close to Him and in His presence.

Every year during my birth-month—October, I commit myself to doing something different to deepen fellowship with God and develop a more intimate relationship with Him. As September came to an end, I began to seek God’s face concerning my fellowship with Him in October. I wanted to know what new dimension He wanted to bring into my fellowship with Him. It was on the last day of the September that a verse in the Bible caught fire in my spirit. It was in 1Timothy 2:1. The God’s Word translation encouraged us to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people. The Message translation magnified the text urging us to pray in every way we know how, for everyone we know.

A light-bulb flicked on in my spirit—I knew what God wanted me to do throughout the month of October. And I set about doing so—to pray for everyone I know, past and present, in every way I know how to pray.

It was during the first week that I had the foreboding of a storm as I prayed for everyone I know. But in the process of praying for some specific persons, I felt in my heart that it was in the dimension of fighting spiritual warfare—battling the enemy for the souls of these loved one. I knew God had always provided an anchor for me to fasten my faith and hope during storms in the past. And He would surely do so again.

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

God’s word is timeless. It is eternal. It stands firm no matter how fierce the storm may be. David declared that God’s Word and truth are dependable (Ps 119:89-93). “If Your revelation, law and instructions had not delighted and sustained me, I would have given up when hard times came or in my afflictions. This verse jumped at me as I studied my Bible on Monday 12th.

Sometimes, when storms come, they come with fury, intense fierceness and with high waves that threaten to capsize the boat, such as was recorded in Mark 4. I was elated and filled with joy when I read of how Jesus rebuked the storm and commanded it to be still, and how the storm immediately 
obeyed and became calm.

This word became a lifeline and a sure anchor for me a few hours later when the storm hit. It came in the form of excruciating pain in my lower back. I had my sista-friend, Bidemi visiting me with her husband. We had planned an outing for the day. I refused to allow the pain to cancel our plans. Every step was in pain. Each time the pain seared through my back, the word, “Peace, be still!” echoed in my spirit. So it continued throughout the day. That night, all I could do was cry out, “I rebuke you, storm of pain in the name of Jesus. At the name of Jesus, be still.” At past 2:00 am, the storm obeyed the word of God, and it became calm. And I dozed off to sleep. I could not but give praise to God when I woke up in the morning. I praised Him for giving me that word and bring it to my remembrance before the storm struck. It provided an anchor for me as I was tossed about by the strong stormy winds.

Two weeks later, just before the next storm came, I had a strong leading in my spirit to study about the victory that Jesus died to purchase for us on the cross at Calvary. As I learnt more about the victory that God gave us through our Lord Jesus Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:57, I came to understand that God desires for both you and me to walk in complete and full victory in EVERY situation and every sphere of our lives. We truly have no excuse for not walking in full victory because God has removed every obstacle out of our way because it is His will for us to learn to know the full benefits provided for us in Christ. God always cause us to triumph in Christ Jesus.

I knew I had to add this dimension to praying for everyone that I know so that they may also learn to appropriate the full victory and the full benefits of the cross in every sphere of their lives. God teaches us the secrets of keeping His victory flowing in our heart as we walk close with Him. That was what I wanted for every member of my family and all my friends, and that was what I prayed for them.

When the storm came in the form of an unexplained generalized allergy that caused severe itching all over my body, I held fast to the word of truth that Jesus died to give me victory over the affliction. The pain and the irritation kept my body restless, but my heart rested on the word that anchored me firm with hope.

I refused to give up praying for everyone I know in every way I know. I stood on the premise that Jesus came to set the lawful captives free and to deliver the prey of the mighty. I refused to be distracted by the harassment of the enemy knowing fully well that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. And in all these things, WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS.

God restored me to full health and strength again. Indeed, He restored me to even greater honour, and He comforted me. The trials and afflictions of my soul helped me to develop endurance and strength of character. October has been a victorious month. It has set the tone for the next eleven months of my life. I will walk in victory in every sphere of my life until I arrive at October 2016.

May your souls find rest in Jesus as you remained anchored by His word of in every storm of your lives. May God’s word sustain you with joy and quicken so that you are enabled to stand strong and overcome the storms.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Life Worth Living Is Life Lived To Serve

The choir led us to sing the song during the Praise and Worship session. We sang with all our hearts. The song reverberated through the hall. The Pastor requested that we take the song again when he addressed the church. It was as we sang again that the last line of the chorus caught my attention. It caught fire in my spirit. The line wrapped itself tightly around my heart. It re-echoed in my mind for days afterwards.

“I live to serve Your majesty.”

The lyrics called out to me, urging an account of my life;

“Am I living my life to serve my King?”
“Am I living a life of service to His Majesty, the Most High God, the King of all Kings?”

I pondered on these questions for many days. It is amazing how just one line of a song can weave itself into our subconscious, becoming a part of our thoughts as we wake up in the morning, as we doze off to sleep at night and several times in between. That has been the case with me with this one line in the chorus of the song; “King of Kings, Majesty” written by Jarrod Cooper.

What Kind of Life Are We Living:

Self-focussed?
Philippians 2: 3-4 says “Do not be selfish;” Admonishing us to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. It also admonishes us not to be concerned only for or look only to our own interest but to be concerned for the interest of others. The worst thing we can do with our lives is to live only for ourselves—focussing only on our needs, wants and gains.

The litmus test of living a selfish life as a Christian is the content of our prayers. Is your prayer more about you, yourself and everything you want God to do for you? God did not put us on earth to live for ourselves.

The next pertinent question we need to ask ourselves is about the motive for what we are doing under the canopy of service to God. Is it to call attention or bring glory to us? Whose interest is being served by our service?

When we do not with humility consider others, we are exhibiting pride and a preoccupation with self. Humility before God and man is a virtue every child of God need to strive constantly for. Our humility in service to God is demonstrated when we are concerned about the interest of others especially those in the household of faith.

Jesus demonstrated humility and selfless concern for others. We are called as believers to have the same mind as is Christ. To have the same mindset as Jesus Christ is to be others focussed.

We also need to note that Jesus did not serve others out of convenience. It cost Him something—it cost Him His life. We are self-oriented if we are serving out of convenience.

Others-focussed?
The bottom-line here is that Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. We have been called to be like Jesus in every way—to selflessly serve others. We become more like Jesus as we live a life of service. A life well lived is a life lived in service of God through service to humanity.

God has given each of us gifts, talents and abilities. We are to be generous with these different gifts God gave us—using them to serve and bless others—as faithful stewards of God’s manifold grace (1Peter 4:10). So that at the end of it all, God gets all the glory, praise and adoration. The service that you perform does not only supply the needs of the Lord's people, but it is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

I attended the oldest girls’ school in Lagos, Nigeria—Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, Lagos. The Motto of my Alma mater is In Love Serve One Another. I learnt about serving others in love from this school.

“The best use of your life is to invest your life in something that will outlast it” – Rick Warren

I truly concur with Rick Warren. The best way to live life is to live such that the echo of the impact of the life lived will continue to resonate long after that life is over. That is the way I want to live my life, in such a way that I will leave a lasting legacy that will continue cause an overflow of praise to God.

Serving The King:
I am serving my King when the things that I do, the services I render, brings glory and honour to Majestic King of Kings. I am serving my King when it is all about Him, about pleasing Him and doing His will. I am indeed serving my King when my act of service is out of submission and obedience to God and not out of convenience.

In everything Jesus did and said, He perfectly reflected the heart of the God. We are chosen by God as His instruments to do His work, to speak out for Him and to show others the goodness of God, that is, serving at the pleasure of our King.

We are serving the King when our act of service reveals God’s attribute of goodness, kindness and generosity to others.

How can we serve our King?
I found a motion song and study for God’s little ones at the hymnary.org titled “Serving The King” written in 1887 by John Hood, which detailed just how every part of our bodies can be used to serve the King of Kings irrespective of how little or insignificant we may think ourselves to be.


“Only a pair of dimpled hands
How can they serve our King?
Some ways of helping others find,
And little love-gifts bring.”

When I live to serve His Majesty, I don’t need self-efforts. I don’t need strive on my own. I only need to surrender every part of my being to the work of the Holy Spirit in me. For it is the Holy Spirit at work in us who points us in the direction of where the needs we can best serve are.

Here and now, I recommit myself to serve at the pleasure of my King. I must live each day of my life to serve His Majesty, the King of Glory, who loves me so much that He gave His only begotten Son for me and kept me by His might hands.

Dear Friends, what about you? What does it mean to you to live to serve His Majesty? How would you commit yourself to live a life worth living, a life that lives behind a lasting legacy?

Honestly, a life worth living is life lived to serve. A life lived just for self or for this moment alone is a wasted life.


Join me to raise 360 gifts items to bring about a 360-degree turnaround for good in the lives of two women. One is an amputee. The other is a wheelchair-bound widow. These gift items will be sold at a Christmas Charity Bazaar in Geneva. Proceeds from the sales of donated gift items will be used to support these two women through the provision of prosthesis, wheelchair and income generating activities.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beyond The Pain To Life Beyond Imagination


We will remember, we will remember
We will remember the works of Your hands
We will stop and give you praise
For great is Thy faithfulness
– Tommy Walker

It was a Sunday morning. We were getting ready for church. I picked up the huge box of cookies my cousin gave me and said to my husband, “I’m taking this to share with the children in church. I dare not eat this alone.”

He laughed and looked up to heaven.

You're our creator, our life sustainer
Deliverer, our comfort, our joy
Throughout the ages You've been our shelter
Our peace in the midst of the storm

“Blessed be God. Do you remember once upon a time, you had to drink Resource Protein and Energy supplements and eat high-energy cookies?”

How can I forget? For many years, I lost weight so rapidly that my doctors placed me on these not-nice-tasting supplements. I was compelled to drink a bottle twice a day. I remembered how often my husband searched the shops for tasty high-protein high-energy snacks. I remembered how difficult it was for me to eat or hold down what I had eaten. I remembered the awful pain in my tummy after eating, which often left me groaning and rolling in pain.

When we walk through life's darkest valleys
We will look back at all You have done
And we will shout, our God is good
And He is the faithful One

I spent time over the past days reflecting on that season in life’s darkest and lonely valley. I remembered how God has been our peace in the midst of the storm. I remembered how God has been turning it all around. In the past fifteen months, I can eat without the fear of pain. I can eat and hold down my food. I have moved from under 50kg to 63kg. I no longer have to use pins to hold my skirts and trousers at the waist. 

Yes, indeed I do remember the work of God’s hands.

It is apt at this turning point in my life to look back into this decade of my life and consider the goodness and mercies God showered on me. Indeed, I see God’s hands turning ashes to beauty. The haggard and strained visage is gone. I am blossoming again in every sphere of my life. God’s mighty hands brought me out of my long winter season and caused my life and strength to spring to life again. It is a brand new season. God is doing a new thing, and it shall yet break forth. In the month of September alone, I stood and shared my story at many places I could not have imagined just a year ago.

As the old year fades away tonight and  new beginning dawns for me on October 1st, I wish I have a thousand tongues to sing the praises of my Lord and King. How I wish I could employ the host of heaven to join me in adoring my Father and God. He is a good Father to me. He is the epitome and definition of a good Father.

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

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.
Composed by Charles Wesley (1739)


Go Beyond The Pain:
Joseph could have become bitter and remained angry after going through the pain of rejection in the pit, the distress of false accusation in Potiphar's house and the despair of abandonment in the prison. But he looked beyond the pain and considered that all the adversity he endured was God sending him ahead to prepare a posterity for his family (Gen. 45: 7-8).

My life story has several chapters of misery, pain, discomfort, and distress, but it is not a tragedy. God’s grace richly abounding to me empowered me to channel my season of pain and adversity to bring about good in the lives of others. If my story can become a means of inspiring hope and pointing others going through adversity to the Supreme Source of hope, then it is not a story of tragedy but a story of victory. My pain is not in vain. My pain is not purposeless.

I am persuaded that our story of pain and affliction can become a source of encouragement to others if we tap into the grace of God that is abundantly available to us. I believe that our season of affliction and adversity can become a unique opportunity to reach out and touch the lives of people in our community for good. I believe there’s someone waiting at the end of our dark tunnel who can derive comfort from our experience if we refuse to give up on hope, and if we refuse to give in to despair but push through to the end.

I have many friends who have suffered the pain and grief of losing a precious loved one. But they have turned the pain to an opportunity to reach out and bring hope to others going through similar experience or ensure that others do not suffer from the same experience. Someone else can derive comfort and be blessed because of what you have gone through this challenging experience, and you have endured through the keeping grace of God.

Dear Friends, there is absolutely nothing you have gone through or still going through that can go to waste. God is using it all to shape you, mould you, and prepare you for the purpose He ordained for your life. I encourage you to look beyond the pain, and you will see how God is working it together for good. You will see God turning it around not only for your good but for the good of many others waiting at the end of your dark tunnel.

There is a grace that is sufficient for every situation that we may find ourselves. Grace is God stooping down to reach out to us at our point of need. He is the God of all grace. After we have suffered for a little while, He will Himself restore us, making us strong, steadfast and firm (1Pet. 5:10). Grace empowers us for victory. We begin to appreciate the import of grace when we are in a dire need of the supernatural ability to live beyond the circumstances and challenges besetting us. It is only the grace of God that can empower us to go beyond the pain of the moment and expectantly look forward to living life beyond imagination.

"Grace abounds like an ever-flowing stream in the valley of adversity."

I have tasted of this GRACE. I can testify of its sufficiency. That is why I can say with confidence and gratitude to God; I am living life to the full again. I am living my dream. I am traveling and talking. My story of over twenty years of being tried in the crucible of affliction has become a testimony touching lives for good. It has become a ministry inspiring hope beyond what I could ever have imagined. It has become an opportunity to enrich lives and galvanize action for amputees and physically challenged persons who do not have access to services that can make life bearable. It is beyond my wildest imagination.

Join me to celebrate life and God's goodness during October (my birth month), by encouraging people around us to GO BEYOND THE PAIN.

Share your story of a season of pain, adversity and challenges, and how God has turned it around for good. Tell us how a difficult season in your life has become an opportunity to reach out and touch the lives of other people for good. Share here on the blog, by email, on the Facebook or twitter.

Please add @Irene Olumese and #GoBeyondThePain to your story when you share on the Facebook or Twitter. That way others can be blessed and encouraged by this one month of #GoBeyondThePain event. 


This blog post includes excerpts from the sermon I preached at HOTRIC, London – Beyond The Pain on Sunday, Sept. 20th and the talk I gave at the Q Commons Talk – Beyond Imagination on Friday, Sept. 25th, 2015. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Amazed At What God Is Doing

We are already in the ninth month of 2015. It is not the end of the year yet. But I cannot wait until December 31st to take stock of the events of the year. I look back into the last eight and half months, and I am overwhelmed at what God has done and is doing in my life. Not only in mine but also in the lives of my family members. God is awesome.

The song played in my head as I floated into consciousness in the early hours of Wednesday;


Count your many blessings
Lay them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God has done
Count your blessings
Lay them one by one
And it would surprise you
what the Lord has done.

I am amazed at how much God has done and what He has done. Counting it all is like counting the sands on the beach, where do I start from?

At the beginning of 2014, the word of God to my family was that “we shall recover all” (1Sam30:8). We stood firm on that promise throughout the year. It was combined with another word that “we shall not see the rain or hear the wind, but our ditches shall be filled with water” (2Kings 3:17). At the end of the year, we had many testimonies of how God followed after His word to fulfil it in our lives. I believed that we carried over these promises into 2015 and received along with it that this is our year of divine establishment. I trusted God for the establishment of His word in our lives, and for us to be established in the centre of His will for us.

I can sing over and over again that I have seen the Lord’s goodness, His mercies and compassion. I have seen His mighty hands working on our behalf. I can testify that God is faithful to His promises. His words are effectual, and they have the power to produce an effect in our lives.

In April, we flagged off the fundraising efforts of the Feet Of Grace Foundation during the Hit The Street For Their Feet Charity Walk. The funds are still coming in. Two amputees received prosthetic limbs. One is doing very well. But Olivet has developed some diabetic ulcers on her second foot making it difficult for her to make maximal use of her prosthetic limb. Do pray along for the healing of the second foot and the grace to bear up under this affliction.

We are getting set to support another amputee who also needs to have her prosthetic limb replaced after using and repairing the current one several times in the last seven years. I am so grateful to all our donors and supporters who have not considered their support an once and for all effort.

The Lord promised me in 2013 that He will give me the Feet of Grace that will take me to places where my natural feet could not take me; places beyond my imagination. He has been doing just exactly what He promised. He opened the doors to me to share my testimony in several places I could never have imagined I would be visiting a few years ago, talk less of speaking there. I shared my testimony in Lagos, Geneva, Zurich, London, Yupaica, Los Angeles and Chicago. And there are still more coming before 2015 is out. The number of kilometres I have covered in this year alone surpasses what I was able to do during the last seven years of my affliction.

My second son successfully completed his high school education in May and gained admission into a great science and engineering College in Claremont, California. I had the opportunity of accompanying him to support his transition to the college, a desire that eluded me when my first son went to college in 2012. I couldn’t get out of my bed then to see him off. That was painful. But God turned it all around for our good. We didn’t have the opportunity to visit the College selected by my second son before he accepted the offer. The orientation section provided me the opportunity of finding out more about the college where our son will be spending the next four years. The peace of God flooded my heart as I learnt more about the school. I knew without any doubt my son is where God wants him to be.

It has been a year of reconnections. Right from May, I got reconnected with friends from my high school days. It is more than 33 years since I saw most of them. Then in August when I got to California, I met my Sistafriend of over 40 years again. It was pure joy holding her in my arms. We saw each other last in 1987. But we kept in touch over the past years. God worked it out for us to spend a few precious days together catching up on our lives, sharing our testimonies and encouraging one another. Reconnections continued as I met friends from my university days, and finally my Best Lady at my wedding and her family.

I was amazed at the warmth and love we still shared despite the many years of being physically separated. The fellowship was vibrant. The icing on the cake was meeting so many who have been praying for me without knowing me or thinking they would ever get to meet me. They prayed with all fervency as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death in 2013. Their joy is indescribable when they finally saw me alive, well and walking.

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” – John 15:12
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."- John 13:35

I have felt true love showered on me right from the beginning of this year, everywhere I went. Many people going out of their way to make themselves available to God to be used to bless my family and me. Help keeps coming when most needed. I am truly humbled and blessed to be the recipient of this kind of brotherly love.

I wanted to be with Sally's husband and children since the day I heard that the Lord had called her home while I was in a coma in 2013. God gave me that opportunity this month. It was humbling for me to stand on the same altar she once preached from and faced the congregation that is still coming to terms with her absence. I bless God for His grace keeping her husband and children. Her husband testified of God’s sustaining grace flowing towards them each day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with them how Sally’s legacy spoke to me about finding and fulfilling the purpose for which God gave me this second chance at life.

Above all else, I am grateful to God for life and for the opportunity to be a vessel He can use. I am grateful for the way He is using the story He is writing of my life to touch lives for good. What God has been doing this year is beyond my imagination—simply amazing.

Upcoming Events:
·       Weekend of Hope and Glory at House On The Rock Church International, London, UK – Sept. 19th – 20th
·       Local Speaker at Geneva Q Commons. Lake Geneva Hotel, Versoix. Geneva – Sept. 25th, 2015 Geneva Q Commons
·       Launching of the InzpireTV. Geneva – Sept 26th, 2015 Inzpire TV Trailer

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Recalibrating In The Season Of Change

I did the catwalk along the aisle between the shelves of shoes without my walking stick in front of the mirror.  With arms spread out, I turned around, paused to rock on my heels, and walked back towards my SistaFriend.

“What are you doing?”

“I am recalibrating,” I answered with a smile.

I wasn't doing the recalibrating myself. It was the hydraulic system in the heel of my prosthetic feet—the Feet of Grace—adjusting the equilibrium to ensure that I maintain balance and stability because of the changes in the height of the heel of the shoes.

The hydraulic system allows me the flexibility of 2cm in the extension of the ankle to ensure that I don't lose balance and fall when there is a change in my height of my heel. This allows me wear shoes with heels 3-5cm high.

It was the last day of the four-day orientation for the parents of the new students admitted to the College. It had been four days of intense activities and information sharing. College administrators were preparing the parents for the change that was about to take place in the dynamics of our relationship with our children who are now Frosh (Freshmen) in the University.

They emphasized the limits of our access to significant information concerning our children’s education and health under the Privacy Protection Act. According to the laws of the land, we could no longer have access to this information once the children turn 18 years old.

Our children are now adults who would be making significant decisions by themselves. Our roles as parents are about to go through a change and take a new dimension. Yes, they are no longer children. They are young adults facing a new life of freedom and independence in the University. They, also, are in a season of change. And we, as parents, have to trust that we have trained them up in a way that will guide them to recalibrate aright.

They asked us to say our goodbyes and leave “our students” in their care, assuring us that they have systems in place to ensure none of them falls off the radar or through the cracks.

I came to California to support my second son as he made his transition to the University. So I said my preliminary goodbyes that afternoon with the intention of seeing him one more time before departing California on my way back home to Switzerland.

My second and last child has spread his wings and flown off the nest. I knew without a doubt a new season of change is upon me.

With change comes the need to recalibrate—adjust to the new definition of normal.

My SistaFriend understood what it feels to walk away leaving your once-a-child behind and face a season of change that comes with it. She was waiting for me with an agenda. First, she deposited me in the salon for a manicure. Next on the agenda was the trip to the shoe warehouse. Needless to say, we didn't talk much about our adult children as we scoured the aisles for shoes that met my specifications.

I used to collect shoes. I shared that story in Once Upon A Time Of Feet And Painted Toenails. With the amputation of my legs came a season of change. I had to give away my high-heeled shoes and started looking broad-heeled shoes for the Feet Of Grace. I learnt to adjust to these new parameters that now guide my shoes selection.

Change comes to us in different ways at different times and phases of our lives. In the season of change, we are required to make adjustments to maintain stability and equilibrium.

My season of change:
I am familiar with change. I have been through several seasons of change. But change is taking place again in different spheres of my life. I said goodbye to my son on Sunday evening. He walked away hurriedly without looking back for the next program on his orientation agenda. He was excited about his new college life. I drove away knowing my role as a nurturer had ended. He is going to take care of himself henceforth.

The following day, I got on the plane to depart California. It was the first time I was traveling alone without any member of my family or a friend since October 2007. It felt strange to sit beside a complete stranger and to have no meaningful conversation except occasional courtesies for almost seven hours. It marked the beginning of a new season different from what I had become accustomed to, and a re-entry into an independent life. I knew there would be more of such travels as the Feet of Grace takes on its assignments.

The flight to Chicago provided me with the opportunity to reflect on the life I have shared with my husband and sons so far. My heart overflowed with gratitude to God for the blessing they have been to me. They bore with me the burden of the storms of the last eight years without once complaining. I am of all women most blessed to have these three men in my life.

In another ten days, I will be back in the air again, this time on the last leg of my return journey home with my husband and an empty nest waiting for me at the other end. My husband and I will begin a new phase in our lives as empty nesters. We will need to recalibrate so that we can fit well into this new life.

I pondered on the areas where we would need to make adjustments as I flew over the drought affected mountainous landscape from Ontario to San Francisco. I knew for sure that we must make every effort to prevent drought in our relationship and family life in this season of change. We must keep our relationship fresh, vital and flourishing.

                         

One area that will require attention and negotiation across the board is COMMUNICATION.  

Managing Communications Across Different Time Zones:
In the last couple of weeks, we found ourselves in different time zones with fourteen hours apart. That required some concerted effort and negotiations to ensure that all the four of us can communicate with each other even if not all together at the same time. The school suggested that we negotiate a communication plan with our children. There's wisdom in that counsel if someone is going to sleep when the other is just waking up on the other side of the world.

Managing without significant persons:
Sooner than later, the day is going to come that I will actually be alone at home. I will have to lock the door by myself that night and go up two flights of stairs to my bedroom, activate the alarm and go to sleep. I have never had to do that since we moved into our home in Geneva twelve years ago. But I had a good practice living alone in Cairo for almost eighteen months in between. So I am very sure by the grace of God I will recalibrate correctly and adjust in the season too.

The chorus of the song, “My Life Is In Your Hands” by Kirk Franklin came to my heart as I pondered on my season of change:

I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in Your hands.

With Jesus, you can make it
With Jesus, you can stand
No matter what may come your way
Your life is in His hands.

Some changes give us notice and time to prepare. Some changes come unannounced and unexpected. Some are painful and devastating. Some are part of growth and life. Whatever kind of changes you may be faced with, you need to know what does not change when everything changes.

God is unchanging.

That's why we cannot be consumed or destroyed in the season of change.

What are the changes going on in your life in this season? What do you have to do to recalibrate and adjust to your new definition of normal? In which areas do you have to negotiate with significant people in your life so you can maintain stability?

Whatever your story may be, I want to assure you that God is mindful of you in this season of change. I want to encourage you to commit your cares, anxiety and concerns to Him. He cares about you where you are right now. You can depend on Him for counsel and guidance, so you are able to maintain stability in your new season.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Favored Leg In Motion

“What name are you going to give your new leg?”

He was quiet for a minute. A couple of fleeting furrows creased his brows.

Then he answered, nodding with assured confidence, “Favored Leg.”

It was apt.

He could not have chosen a better name for his new prosthetic limb. He is Chidiebere. He is ten years. He is the fifth of five children. His father died when he was three months old. His mother who is a petty trader takes care of him. Chidiebere lost his leg following an accident when the bathroom wall fell on him at the age of 5 years. It was a full leg, transfemoral amputation with an extremely short stump.

His disability notwithstanding, Chidiebere is hard working. He had just completed his Primary 4 School examinations. He helps his mother with household chores—cooking, sweeping, and running errands. He does this hopping on one leg with his crutches. He had overgrown his first prosthetic limb. He desperately needed a new one. That was how the Feet Of Grace Foundation got connected to Chidiebere by the Irede Foundation.

He was one of the beneficiaries of the funds raised during and after the Feet of Grace 5k Charity Walk; “Hit The Street For Their Feet.” The fundraising event brought us in contact with Center for Integrated Health Program at the recommendation of my husband’s old school mate—an evidence of favor. The Center donated the entire funds for Chidiebere’s prosthetic limb.

But favor did not stop there, the Center proposed to support Chidiebere beyond the provision of a prosthetic leg. So they requested to meet with his family. That was part of my mission to Nigeria in July. I met his mother in Lagos on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at a meeting organized by The Irede Foundation, the sponsors of the first prosthetic leg. She was full of gratitude to everyone who contributed towards Chidiebere getting a new prosthetic leg.

It was while watching the video made following the fitting of the first prosthetic limb that I heard Chidiebere saying that he wanted to finish his education and become a doctor— dream beyond his current circumstances.

I was eager to meet with the young lad. I wanted to hear him tell me his dreams and aspiration. I wanted to see this young boy who is not allowing his challenges and difficult circumstances to kill his dream.

I traveled to Enugu in the eastern part of Nigeria on Monday, July 21st, 2015. It was an hour flight from Lagos. I traveled with another amazing young girl, who is living life to the full despite being an amputee—Beulah is just six years old. She is such a sweet girl. She is another proof that disability is a thing of the mind. She is the daughter of the founder of the Irede Foundation.

Chidiebere was learning how to use his new prosthetic leg during a post-fitting session when I got to the clinic—Othofit. He stood tall on his new leg, still uncovered to allow for necessary adjustments as the technicians ensure proper alignment and equilibrium.

We talked. We walked together. I introduced him to my Feet of Grace, “You are not alone in this” I told him. He was amused that I gave my prosthetic legs a name. Then I asked him what he would like to call his.

His answer indicated the depth of his understanding of the immensity of the favor and grace shown to him. Everything is turning around in his favor especially with the prospect of having his path towards fulfilling his dream supported by strangers.

We visited his home and his school. We spoke with his sisters and teachers. Both sites depicted the abject poverty and the harsh realities of the environment Chidiebere is living in. It was certainly not friendly for the disabled. For Chidiebere, there is a glimmer of hope shimmering like silver lining around the dark clouds—this is the manifestation of favor.

I left Chidiebere with words of my husband ringing in my ears, “Perhaps, Chidiebere may not have had the opportunity to walk again and dream of a bright future if you did not lose your legs.”
One was definitely sure, I would not be campaigning for the cause of amputees living in poor communities today if I am not an amputee myself. I certainly would not have had such an honor of meeting champions like Chidiebere and Beulah, who have refused to let their disability define them or limit them from dreaming of a bright future. These kids are a great inspiration to me.

The visit highlighted critical gaps in the area of post-fitting physiotherapy care and support for the amputees, their immediate family, and caregivers. This is an area Feet of Grace Foundation will be seeking to strengthen shortly with the support of our friends.

I was unable to visit Olivet Amadi, the second beneficiary of the support for the provision of a prosthetic limb through the donations from the Friends of the Feet of Grace. She lives further up north in Jos. I watched the video of the fitting of the new prosthetic leg. She is currently undergoing post-fitting alignment and gait training to ensure that she can use the limb without pain.

Chidiebere and Olivet are beneficiaries of the act of kindness of the Friends of Feet Of Grace Foundation, who have been donating generously to the Charity Funds since we flagged off the fundraising efforts in April 2015. The favor you have shown towards these amputees is making a remarkable difference in their lives. On their behalf, I would like to express my gratitude for your support and donations. Together, we are changing lives for better and touching lives for good.

This is just the beginning. I had the opportunity to meet with four female amputees. Three of them are married, with children to take care of; one is a widow and the fourth is a 25 years old lady. Each  with her unique story living with missing limbs, yet defiant, refusing the loss of their limbs to be a full stop to their lives but a mere comma!

We shared stories of our struggles living as amputees in an environment that is yet to become handicap friendly—an environment with limited opportunities to access affordable prosthetic limbs. These ladies are either overdue for a change their prosthetic or still patiently awaiting support for limbs.

I ended my trip with a greater appreciation of the need to educate the general public that while people with disabilities or missing limbs may need support and assistance, they certainly do not need pity.
You and I, in our diverse spheres of influence, can be a conduit of God’s favor and a source of encouragement to persons with disability. You can make a difference by advocating for more handicap friendly environments.

One step at a time, one amputee at a time, we are making an impact that will resonate long after us. Join us at the Feet Of Grace Foundation to make life a little better for people living with missing limbs especially in poor communities.

Together, we can.