Guilty to Live?

There are times I am so afraid to live! Have you felt that same way before? After a loss, we often lose touch of what life should be about; we question what the essence of life is after all. We ask questions of why certain things have to happen to good people. The Life we have has been given as a gift to us from God; just paramount to us alone. Our life is not hinged to another man’s life though we are all connected, we are wired and created differently and separately for different purposes.

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When the death of a spouse comes knocking, it is not a pass for us giving up on our lives even though that is all we wish to do. How often do you feel guilty to live that life you had always wanted; how often do you feel guilty to start that business or how often do you feel guilty to start that project or are you guilty of loving and caring for those around you?. Seriously, I have felt guilty to live normally again because I feel am leaving someone out of it “my late spouse”. We do things together, plan together and look toward the future together. Now that he is no more, I have always felt I need his permission to live again, and his consent to actualize my dreams. It is actually a hard decision to make, especially when your number one cheerleader and fan is no more around to cheer you up or give you that encouragement and support you’ve always enjoyed.

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Success in itself is pushing through life against all odds and pursuing our aspirations despite the absence of a cheerleader. It is doing things irrespective of oppositions in form of grief and sorrow that most times overwhelm our lives.

We have to stand up on our feet and know that the world is waiting to see how we handle what life has thrown at us. Are you actually giving up on life? are you seeing the world as senseless? are you seeing yourself as though nothing else matters anymore?. How long are you going to allow the guilty of life tie you down from achieving those great things, God has placed inside of you.

Destinies of thousands are tied to us, we have to keep running in our race and not give up along the way. We cannot afford to park here (where you are at the moment); the journey is still on and the train is still moving. We need to take our place and never stop living.

“It’s okay to grief, just never forget to LIVE”. –Vivian Okojie

 

Guest Post by:

Kehinde Daramola 

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Grieving and coping with the loss of your newborn baby

Life most often is filled with contradictions. These contradictions for nursing mothers who grieve the loss of their newborn babies after birth are always too much to bear. Counselors describe the emotional pains and moments of grieve for mothers who lost their babies after birth as more traumatizing to bear than physical pains. 

So how do you deal with the pain of losing a child after birth?

Psychologists are also of the opinion that mothers who lost their babies after birth have to cope with great grief and a mixture of emotions, as well as the physical aspects of losing the baby. The grief for most of these mothers is based on the fact that 48 weeks of anticipation for a child and the antagonizing pains of labor are reduced to nothing with no baby to gaze and cuddle

According to research, many mothers who lost their babies after birth described the moment after losing the baby as more terrifying. This often leaves them in a state of indecision with a weak and blur memory. The experience also leaves the mother’s helpless who in most cases would want to still hold on to a lifeless baby for too long without wanting to let go.

For centuries, scientific research is yet to fully explain and comprehend the bond between a mother and the newly born baby especially after delivery. Such bond suddenly wipes off the pains common during childbirth. The bond according to counselors is what often heightens the pains and anguish of a mother who grieve the loss of the newly born baby after birth.

In addition, research has also suggested that most mothers find it very painful to explain to families and friends the loss of a baby they have proudly announced to the world during the weeks and months of pregnancy. According to the research, most mothers finds it very terrifying to announce the loss of the baby to people who knew about their pregnancy and are unaware of their lost after birth. Such a memory is similar to walking around with open wound with flies perching on it.

annie-spratt-210644For other grieving mothers, the loss of the baby after delivery goes with a feeling of failure and disappointment of how they have failed in allowing such a loss to occur. Counselors are however of the opinion that all the feelings associated with the loss of babies after birth by mothers are psychologically and socio-culturally normal. All these are due to the unexplainable bond between mothers and newly born babies alongside the joy and feelings the delivery of a child is often considered in the society.

To deal with such phase in life, several methods of support and comfort for the grieving mothers are often suggested by counselors.  For instance, to cope with such a moment, in the first few days of the loss, the mother should be made to understand what resulted in the loss of the baby. Such explanations would help the mothers avoid the game of self-blame which often lead to guilt and a long period of resentments and regrets by the mother. Here, the roles of medical personnel are considered essential. 

Also, mothers going through this phase should also be allowed to have their wishes granted. Some mothers would wish to spend time cuddling the lifeless baby. This would help such mothers come to terms with the reality before them.

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Similarly, the services of counselors and support of close relatives are also of paramount importance to the mothers. The services of a counselor are to talk such grieving mothers out of the emotional pains and psychological trauma by accepting that life itself is filled with moments of joy and pains. While the support of close family members especially the presence of the husband will be a means of reassurance which would suggest to the grieving mother that she is not going through the loss alone. Such support from the spouse should also include that the bereaved mother would have mood swings and nagging issues as it relates to issues with her partner including sex even months after the loss.

Having recently experienced the loss of my first baby few hours after birth did go through and still going through a high level of pain and depression. I have spent months replaying the event in my mind, I have been riddled with nightmares of my baby being taken away from me. As a young woman, the experience has changed me for life.

According Katherine, a mother who lost her first baby few days after birth said, “you never get over the death of a child, you just learn to live with your grieve,” however mothers who grieve the loss of their child after birth should be accompanied and supported all through the way of their grieve and sorrow not minding how long it takes. 

          

Guest post by:

Folashade Sholotan

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And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission

In the world of the independent woman, being submissive to your husband is a taboo topic. Many modern day women wouldn’t consider taking on the submissive role in their relationship. Many men consider the lack of submissiveness in women the reason for the breakdown of the family. Yet, the truth of the matter is, neither of the sexes truly understand the role submissiveness is supposed to play in a marriage. Wendy Magee’s book And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission”, tackles the role of submissiveness in a godly marriage.

“A woman has to understand her role as a single woman and then married,” Wendy said, “and a man has to understand his role as a single man and then married.”

Wendy was hit with the inspiration for her book at a marriage retreat with Franklin Avenue Baptist Church when the wife of a couple told her husband ‘and I will call you Lord’. When her husband asked if she would call him Lord, she responded with a resounding ‘no’. Shortly after being introduced to the concept, she started to truly understand what it really meant through her studying of the scripture, in particular, 1Peter 3:5-6, which says “For in this way in former times the holy women, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands and adapting themselves to them; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you have become her daughters if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” “When Sarah called Abraham Lord, it was out of respect and honor,” Wendy said. “My book breaks down what the Bible is talking about in 1 Peter 3. About the woman submitting to her husband, the man honoring his wife, and how they are heirs together.” “It wasn’t something that I never thought I would do. Once I got the revelation my husband said ‘I think you should write a book on it.’” Wendy said. “I was never a poet or anything like that. I’m a go-getter. So, when he challenged me to write a book, I did a lot of research and I just started writing.”

 

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Wendy, who is originally from Port Arthur, TX, obtained her Bachelor’s at Wiley College in Criminal Justice. She also has a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lubbock Christian University. She works as the Director of Operations for CASA Jefferson, an organization that helps children that are removed from their homes and placed in foster care situations due to instances of reported abuse or neglect. “It kind of just fell into my lap. I was in criminal justice and I wanted to work with young people,” Wendy explained how she got started with CASA Jefferson. “When I moved here to New Orleans, I got acquainted with the non-profit. I started as a supervisor and worked my way up to Director of Operations.”

Wendy attends Mount Carmel Ministry. She is also an Ordained Minister under the leadership of Apostle Arthal Thomas Sr., and she works, alongside her husband, with youth and young adults in the ministry. Wendy said, “Me and my husband minister to couples.” And She Called Him Lord is her contribution to help married couples make godly choices in their marriage. This book uses bible passages, starting with 1 Peter 3 (AMP), to understand how God truly wanted the role of submission to play in a marriage for both the husband and wife. By using examples of biblical couples such as Sarah and Abraham, she breaks down the meaning of being a virtuous woman, why a husband should be honoring his wife, as well as many other concepts that are normally left out of the conversation when speaking about submissiveness. There is something for both wives and husbands to learn from And She Called Him Lord. “I didn’t want to tailor it too much to a woman, or for it to be one-sided,” Wendy said, “because, in order for a marriage to work, it has to be both parties.”

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Wendy wrote And She Called Him Lord within four months. Her goal was to create a book that would give her readers the tools to overcome their fear of submission, as well as strengthen godly marriages so that couples may “experience the love of God that will enhance intimacy.” The book gives the reader a chance to answer questions in order to get an in-depth look at how the topics and themes affect them personally. “My hope is to restore broken marriages,” said Wendy.

She has been married to her husband, David Magee, Jr. for ten years. They have two beautiful children, Kaleb and Kyrie. “When I got the revelation myself, it changed the way my husband and I interacted. It changed the way we interacted around our children. And that’s what I want to see because there are too many broken marriages.” And She Called Him Lord recently won the Henri Award in the Christian Living Category for the Christian Literary Awards presented by Joy & Company in December of 2016. “I have really been led listening to the voice of the God,” Wendy said. “It really was divinely inspired.”

 

Wendy plans to expand the series with a study guide as well as making the current book available in other languages, such as Spanish. She is also in the writing stage for a study guide. She hopes to continue to write book series that focus on bettering couples through scripture. For now, though, she is focusing on spreading the word about And She Called Him Lord through her new ministry “Speak Up”, in hopes of reaching the people who truly need to hear the messages and lessons written within its pages. Speak Up is a ministry dedicated “Lifting up marriages and relationships through edification and empowerment.” It comes from the scripture Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

“I’m not looking to get rich or become a millionaire,” Wendy said. “I just hope that people’s marriages are restored and that this book continues to get passed on to different people.” And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission is available at Gospel Bookstore in Gretna, LA, Amazon, and on Wendy’s website www.wendymagee.org. It is also available in audio form at audible.com and on iTunes.

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responding to a calling

Would you Respond to God’s calling and Dump your Degree?

My Name is Joshua, I have always been an “A” grade student, everyone loves me. The hope my parents had were about to be dashed. My father died when I was barely 7 years old since then my Mother was married off to Uncle Jite and he was like a father to me. Uncle Jite did not treat me and mother like he treated his first wife and her children but he did right by us. He regularly added to my mom’s savings so she fed me and paid my school fees.

In my final year at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, I got the call of God to service. I finished NYSC and planned to break the news to my parents after returning home, Chinenye (My Fiancee) has been in mourning since I told her that she was getting married to a clergy. She had to choose that life or leave me.

My mother has told the whole village how her “Engineer” son will build a factory, employ their children and bring contractors to tar the roads.

 

What Should be Priority?

This narrative is common in countries where Christianity and several religious persuasions place a higher value on the calling of “God” than the needs of a dying society.

This question has remained largely unanswered, a lot of young people find themselves at a crossroad. Should a young graduate dump his 4/5years university degree and become a Bible-thumping Proselyte. Is it possible that God cares more about recruiting people to eternal life than building societies that work? Is there a balance out there?

These are questions that require a lot of counsel, a lot of prayers. Sometimes we make a decision not to choose what seems to be the expected route. We all know that Paul in the scriptures continued to work for his own upkeep by tent making, while we have other disciples who left their fish nets to follow Jesus. It is important that every individual chooses what path to service that best suits their conscience. If we would serve God then service to humanity must not become a burden to us.

After the command to love God with all our hearts, the next to it is that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s imagine that every human chose to abandon their vocations and all turned to evangelists, would we have a society that works and actually grows? Each reader should expand on this last thought from here on, it is not a complete answer but it’s a good start.

As much as there is a need for the social and emotional development of humans, the human nature does not start and end with spiritual and non-physical issues. We live in a physical world.

5 Steps to Family Reconciliation

Sometimes we slam the door behind us, we slam it so hard that we cannot turn back. This is not because we have not forgiven, memories of how we slammed those doors hold us back. Memories could be our greatest enemies, they keep us far away from reconciliation. It could be easier to say “forgive and forget” than to actually forget what was done. How then can we repair these memories? What can we do about them?

Sometimes our spouse says horrible things in the heat of the moment. There are times our children say hurtful things to us as parents and other times people we once respected act terribly. We forgive or allow time to heal our wounds but reconciliation may never occur.

What is Reconciliation?

The reestablishment of friendly relations; of atonement conciliation or rapprochement (theology). The end of estrangement between a human and God as a result of atonement; more specifically.

Just as Christ came to reconcile us to God, we have all been given a ministry of reconciliation. A large part of our existence requires brokering peace because there are several reasons for divisions even within a nuclear family. Understanding that distance and offense estrange us, should help the healing process. Reconciliation is required when there is a break in communion. Without communion, the bond of love is broken and family dies a gradual death.

There is no rule book for how reconciliation can be achieved but here are five things we can do:

1. Make amends: it is not advisable that we simply shake hands and forget the wrong that has been done. It may be necessary to open up and take actual steps to correct or amend the wrong that has been done.

2. Communicate: This usually comes before making amends, there is a need to reestablish communication. When trust is broken, communication becomes herculean and this usually contributes to the estrangement.

3. Take responsibility: there may be nothing more annoying than a person who blames other people or circumstances for their wrongdoing. Every party to a fight should own their mistakes and let the aggrieved individuals know they are aware of their wrongdoing. Don’t say “but if it was not for…..” just accept that you did something awful and make moves to rectify. AMEND.

4. Give Second Chances: Some of us are quite vengeful, we have steel armored doors guarding our hearts. The love of God is wider and bigger, if he forgives us our many transgressions then we should be ready to forgive people their fault.

5. Expect imperfection: being a perfectionist may be one of the attributes of those who find reconciliation difficult, sometimes we should make allowance for human flaws. People are bound to make mistakes and when we have this in mind, it becomes easier to make excuses for people and give second chances.

Jesus said if a person offends, we should forgive seventy times seven times which sounds quite impossible. I think the message in that statement is that we may be required to overlook and ignore as many faults as possible in pursuit of peace. When we desire peace, we may have to sacrifice our memories of the wrong done to us. It’s not like we do not remember the offense but we choose to make allowances for those we have chosen to love because Love in itself is a choice we make. Reconciliation requires us to make that choice daily!