The Girl Child: A Letter to my Future Daughter

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oluwatomisin

 

Dear Oluwatomisin,

You are young, bold and beautiful and might certainly feel like you have the whole world at your feet right now but I have a few lessons to share with you.

The world is a very big place and you have a role to play in it. I need you to start thinking about this early. Be observant and deliberate about the world around you and find what makes you tick; start your journey to finding your place early because you can and will be anything you want to be.  This is the first of many letters you will be receiving from me.

  • Stay strong: Life is a process and you will always be learning. It is a journey filled with many highs and lows and not a destination, so don’t unpack your bags just yet. Life will take you through unexpected paths however, one thing I can tell you is that if you stay strong and true to who you are, every experience will build in you, strength of character that will make you a much better person. By the way, a bonus point is the fact that you can also help others when they find themselves in situations you have successfully navigated. You are a fighter and you are going to stay strong till the end! I will be cheering you on!
  • Be purposeful about your life: Now, God has brought you here on earth for a reason and the best thing you can do for yourself is to achieve that purpose. By all means, make as many friends as you desire and be as cool as you want, but you must always remember why you are here. Have a dream and follow it regardless of what anyone else thinks or believes. All you need is to believe in yourself and it will all fall through in due time (remember I said life is a process, there are no quick fixes). Don’t be afraid to be different, do you and be proud. It may take time but you will be fine.
  • Live for something other than yourself: It is so easy for you to get self-centred in this world. When you internalise everything that happens around you, it is very easy for you to think the whole world is against you or about you, but no darling that is not the case. You need to realise that a huge world exists outside of you. Find a cause much bigger than yourself and follow it. Think of other people, be considerate, love other people as much as you love yourself and treat them right. The world will feel like a much better place when you do.
  • Be true to yourself: Oh baby, there is going to be a new fashion fad every season. One minute something is in vogue and the next minute it is completely out of style. You need to stay true to who you are; find your style, find what makes you comfortable, love the skin you are in, and love yourself!
  • Stand for something: Oluwatomisin, you cannot always go with the crowd. You need to be able to stand for something. People should know you by certain values, morals and belief systems. Don’t be afraid to speak out for what you believe in.
  • Your confidence should be in God and not in any material thing: It is so easy to lose yourself in the abundance of the things you have. You might begin to build your confidence around those things but they only set you up for a fall darling. Let your confidence come from knowing who you are in God. There will always be something/someone better, finer, cooler and more interesting but that is perfectly fine too. Once your confidence is in God, you can have Him with you all the time and you can walk into any room with your head held up high.
  • Trust God with all that you have got: This lesson is not an advice, it’s a necessity! You are made in His image and for His purpose so love Him and seek Him first and every other thing will follow. I am not saying this will make everything easy baby, but it will surely make everything worth it! I promise you that! Knowing that God has got you no matter what, beats everything so trust Him; in the good times, in the uncertain times and in the bad times. He sees, He knows and He hears you baby.
  • I won’t advice you to act the whole “I am miss independent, I don’t need a man…” but darling, I need you to understand who you are. I want you to find yourself in God and hold your own. Once you know who you are, it is easier to bring someone else into your life and you can both work together towards making each other better people. Make sure you find someone who values you, who knows what you are worth and will treat and love you for the woman that is inside of you. Be with someone who is interested in your future and making you the best version of you. Be with someone who is invested in seeing God’s purpose for your life achieved. You also have to be just as valuable to him though, make sure you are constantly adding value to him in one way or the other. You are a valuable asset babe!
  • Guard your heart with all diligence: You are going to hurt people and you are going to get hurt: you cannot control what people say or do to you but you can choose how to react. In every situation though, guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life.
  • Your worth is far above rubies: Your worth is far above rubies. This is what the word of God says about you so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You cannot and should not be bought at any price.
  • Value yourself above money: I am not saying money is bad but money will be made, money will come. Your worth and integrity should never be exchanged for anything of monetary value. Please never ever renege on your integrity.
  • Be diligent: I really hope I do not need to explain this to you Tomisin. In everything you find yourself doing, do it well! Give it your all, set yourself apart. The minute you find that you cannot give it your all anymore, then it is time to move-on and let somebody who is willing to do the job better take over.
  • Be wise: With all the education and training you are going to get, I need you to gain wisdom and understanding. Be discerning and pray for wisdom always! I will be praying too, always!
  • Laugh: It is alright to laugh at yourself sometimes. Life is challenging enough already, try not to make it any harder on yourself.
  • Build a good network: I do not mean “many”, I said “good”. You need friends you can rely on. It is not in the quantity but in the quality.
  • Don’t just exist, I need you to live! Go out there and experience the world. Make new friends and always strive to be the best version of you that you can be. The world eagerly awaits the manifestation of the children of God.
  • Always wear a smile baby: So I know I just told you that life will throw you some unexpected turns that might get you down but still, the power of that smile goes a long way. You never know who that smile will touch. In making a difference for someone else through your smile, your heart will also be gladdened and you will be drawn out of your situation gradually.
  • Step out! Fall over! Jump off the wall! Do not be scared to take chances; they usually lead to beautiful places and to beautiful people.

I love you very much baby and will like to say I wrote this letter thinking about you alone Tomisin but I wrote this thinking about every girl child out there. You see, while I love you very much, I am learning to live for ideas bigger than myself, I am learning to live for and feel for people I have never even met, I am learning to be that which God has called me to be for His purpose.

I am still very much on my own journey and will probably write you an additional letter in a few years but I have no doubt that together, we will make something absolutely beautiful out of this world God has called us to be a part of.

I look forward to meeting you.

Lots of Love,

Mum (Toluwalola)

PS: You will have to quickly learn at an early age Tomisin that I prefer to be called by my full name because it conveys more meaning for me. So, if when you read this letter, you choose to say you want me to stick with a particular form of your name, I will totally get that. Life is all about learning to respect other people, their views and outlook to life. While it might be different from yours, they remain very valid. Last lesson, respect! Respect! Respect everyone (Not just those you think are above you or can help you but every single person you meet!).

 

 

The perfectly imperfect but beautiful and purposeful pieces of your life are brought together by the Cornerstone

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Cornerstone

You might ask, what does a cornerstone really mean? What does it do? And why is it there?

A cornerstone is a stone at the corner of a building uniting two intersecting walls; He is holding the pieces of your life together

We all know that sometimes, life can get a bit challenging. We have to wear so many hats in one day without dropping any of the balls. We have way too many ideas running through our minds than time permits us to implement. We have big and diverse dreams; you want to be an accountant and a fashion designer all at the same time. We have careers we need to chase, children we need to bring up in the way of the Lord, and spouses we need to care for.

While these roles are so diverse, none is necessarily more important than the other. God works in us to will and to do according to His own perfect will so He gives us the ideas, He gives us Grace, and He brings the right support system our way and tells us to run with it.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone that unites the different areas of your life. He brings it all together to make a great master piece. While you might not fully understand the pieces of the puzzle right now, all you need to know is that there is one, a master builder, a master planner who knew that you will need the cornerstone. He therefore, made himself available to be that stone that will help bring together the perfectly imperfect but beautiful and purposeful pieces of your life.

No experience is too ugly to be useful, no experience should be wasted and no experience is without a purpose. The cornerstone will bring it all together and make something beautiful out of the pieces of your life.

A cornerstone is often inscribed, laid at a ceremony marking the origin of a building; He is your identity. Your mark on earth. He is what you stand for here on earth.

Has anyone really asked you that question: who are you? How did you answer that question and what did you think about? What was your thought process towards answering that question? Did you think I am a Nurse, I am a Teacher, I am a Lawyer, I am a Mum, I am a Father, I am a Husband, I am a housewife, I am a student, I am a grandfather? What did you really think? In other words, who really are you? Have you ever realised that everything that you are is built on one stone, one foundation, and one purpose! Whatever you decide to be in life is built on the foundation of the one whom you belong to, the one from which your identity is formed and the one who has marked you for His own purpose.

So the next time anyone asks who you are? Tell them you are a child of the living God and you can and will be anything He wants you to be at any time He decides.

A cornerstone is an indispensable and fundamental basis; You are absolutely nothing without Him

So many times, we walk around the world feeling like we have successfully made something out of ourselves. We huff and puff imagining that we have achieved everything and gathered all the wealth by our own power and might. So we get to that place where we forget our source, the indispensable element of our success story, the reason why we are alive, and the reason why we have made it so far. We are quick to forget so we start in the spirit and then continue in the flesh.

This is a reminder that we are absolutely nothing without Him and He is the ultimate and only cornerstone. Everything else is built on this solid rock!

Isaiah 28:16-17:  “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.

1 Peter 2:6: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame”.            

Ephesians 2:19-21:Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

 

      

 

Life through His eyes

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You say what if I lose my life, I say what if you gain your life and the life of others?

You say what if I don’t make it, I say what happens if you do?

You say what if I lose all I have worked for, I say what if you still have life and a greater purpose after that?

Do not let the fear of losing what you have hinder you from gaining the “greatness” that lies in the unknown.

Matthew 10:39 – whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

 

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

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Roaring Lion

There is one (the devil, your adversary) who prowls around like “a” Lion and there is “the” Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Now, don’t get the facts twisted, these are two completely different things:

There is one who prowls around like a Lion looking for who to devour

The key words here are:

  • Prowls around: Stalks and creeps around you, not sure of what is going to come next and waits to take advantage of any opportunity you give before he can attack. This Lion is not in control, you are!
  • Like: This Lion is not the real deal, it is a counterfeit that appears real and uses fear to bring you to submission. He goes around “like” a Lion, meaning that he is not really a Lion but wants to be like one to put fear in your heart but we all know that he is nothing close to the real Lion.
  • A: This Lion is a very common Lion, he is only one of many in the jungle.
  • This Lion is out to devour, steal, kill and destroy: Not a builder but a scatterer, not to give life but to bring destruction.

Then we have Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah

  • He is unmistakably the King of ALL Kings;
  • He is unmistakably the biggest of the biggest Lions, He is the Lion and not a Lion. He is not one of many;
  • All other beasts and wild animals in the field honor and respect Him because He provides water in the wilderness;
  • When He roars, ALL take cover because He is the King, the Lion that dominates ALL, including the other Lions;
  • You are made in His image so ALL animals should also bow to you including the counterfeit Lion;
  • This great Lion is living on the inside of you;
  • He is the beginning and the end, the greatest of the greatest, the strongest of the strongest and He is your sure foundation.

So the next time you think of the one who prowls about “like” a Lion, you can confidently laugh in the knowledge of the fact that you have “the” Lion of the tribe of Judah on the inside of you.

He is the king of ALL kings.

Everything bows to Him!!!

God’s Love in Purpose

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love

He died for us so that all who live, having received eternal life from him, might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them. So as we surrender our lives to the one who loves us and who as a result of His love for us, gave up His life, we will have to give up our claims and rights to ourselves.

Jesus is not telling us to surrender to His love and perfect will because He does not know how that will feel or how hard it may be.

He experienced a “battle of wills” but nonetheless, He choose God’s love in purpose.

Jesus cried out, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet, not as I will, but as you will.

In John 6:38, He said, for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of Him who sent me.

In John 4:34, Jesus said to them, my food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.

The one who knew no sin took on sin that we might be made righteous by the blood of the lamb.

He died for us in love, he predestined us to fulfil “HIS own” purpose here on earth and not ours.

Imagine these scenes

Scene 1

A Master goes to the market to buy clay to make a table. The Master is skilled and knowledgeable in all works and well respected. The Master is making this table because before He started to create this table, He knew the very purpose it was going to achieve and it was all part of His Master plan.

The Table however, begins to speak to the Master when it realises what the Master is making out of it.

I do not think you should make a table out of me Master, I have a better plan, I will be more useful as a chair instead and so, should you not make me a chair?

Chair                 VS.                  Table

        The Clay’s  Will                                             The Master’s Will

 

Scene 2

You go out to buy a car for the sole purpose of taking yourself from point A to point B every day as you please. You knew that before you went out to buy the car so you bought a car that will be suitable to achieve that very purpose for you.

You get home with the car and it works fine for the first day perhaps but by the second day, the car says to you, I know you bought me to take you from Point A to point B however, I will rather just drive you to the neighbour’s house only every day.

You want to go out again the following day and you get the same response from your car. In other words, this car that you have bought with a particular purpose in mind is no longer willing to fulfil that purpose.

If you find yourself in this situation, what will you do? Will you still keep the car in your drive way when it is not doing what it was bought to do or will you look for the next available buyer to take it over? Food for thought.

short road                     VS.                         Long road

Car’s preferred travel distance              Owner’s preferred travel distance

Will you continue to fight His will or surrender to the one who gave His life for you in love that you may live for His own purpose?

A final note on surrendering

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers)

1 John 4:10In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins.

John 12:27Now my soul is deeply troubled. Shall I pray, ‘Father, save me from what lies ahead’? But that is the very reason why I came!

Four (4) Lessons

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Lesson 1: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added to you

As if to say He did not know that they had caught no fish all day, Jesus asked, do you have no fish?

They answered, No.

Then Jesus stepped into their situation and said, cast your net to the right side of the boat and they caught a large number of fish.

So many times, we find ourselves spending unfruitful hours chasing the fish; the job, the house, and the cars when we really should be chasing the creator and giver of the fish who can command them to be at any place, at any time to meet our needs.

 

Lesson 2: Love

Jesus asked a simple question three times: He asked, do you love me?

Simon Peter was very sure of his love for Jesus and was even getting a bit hurt that Jesus would ask him this question as if He should not know by now that he (Peter) loves Him so much.

Then Jesus said to Simon Peter: If you love me, then feed my lamb, take care of my sheep, and feed my sheep.

Wow, Jesus was saying, if truly, your proclamation of love is real, and all your heart yearns for me and you really mean it when you sing your heart out that you love me, “THEN, FEED MY SHEEP”.

Feed my sheep does not refer to bread and butter as might be nourishing to the human body, but refers to the bread of life, which is the word of God.

 

Lesson 3: Follow Me

Jesus did not stop there for He knows us because He created us. He knows that as human beings, we have “strong wills” that often time, differ from His own will for us and we need to learn to follow and trust him.

So Jesus said, you know how when you are young, you get dressed by yourself and go anywhere you please, when you please and how you please but as you grow much older and mature in age, someone else gets you dressed and leads you? This is how it is with you and me.

Now that you are mature in me and all grown up, you will no longer go anywhere just as you please. To glorify God, you will need to “DIE TO SELF” and “FOLLOW ME”.

I lead, you follow and not the other was around.

 

Lesson 4: Distraction vs. Focus

Then Simon Peter does what we all do. He asks a question about another disciple at a point when Jesus just gave him such an important instruction. While he needed to be focused on the instruction that was given to him, he says to God instead – what about that disciple? Jesus says to him, what is that to you? Essentially, He was saying, what is your business with that one? I just gave you an instruction to follow me and that is all you need to do.  Just follow me!

It is so easy to get distracted and very hard to set our face straight, focusing on what really matters. We spend more time minding other people’s business than minding the business God has put before us. In doing that, we get distracted and we easily leave behind the blueprint that has been set before us.

Focus on Jesus, stop looking to the left and to the right and follow Him.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Be you Jewels

 

Even when the equation doesn’t add up, come as you are

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invitation

We find faith by hearing what Jesus says but even more, by trusting Jesus himself. Once we see Jesus, know Him and experience Him, the impossible things in our lives becomes possible. We no longer see the need to have our boats safely anchored to the harbour because we know of Him who speaks to the storm, calms the waves, parts the sea, walks on water, and specialises in shaming the wise with the foolish things of the world and shaming the strong with the weak things of the world.

Now, I was studying the bible and something jumped out at me:

  • Jesus broke 5 loaves of bread for 5 thousand men (besides women and children) and they picked up 12 baskets full of left over and in another story;
  • Jesus broke 7 loaves of bread for 4 thousand people and they picked 7 baskets full of left over.

Does anyone else see what I see or hear what I hear? How is it that 7 loaves of bread feeds 4 thousand people and gives you 7 baskets of left-over while 5 loaves of bread (a smaller number) feeds 5 thousand people (a larger number) and gives you 12 baskets full of left-over (a larger number in itself)? I was not the best math student in class but all I know is that these numbers do not logically stack up to the natural human mind. How Jesus? But then, the Holy Spirit is our teacher.

Our God is a God of provision and according to our needs, He provides. He is not bothered about being logical or mathematically correct to meet our needs (He says to us in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”).

Jesus was in the middle of a situation, He realised that there was a need to be met, He asked them what they had and they presented it to the one who is able to meet all needs, He cannot be limited, He sustains us and He is Jehovah El-Shaddai.

He is the same God who commanded a Raven to feed Elijah morning and evening at Kerith Ravine where he was told to hide! Have you ever wondered how a Raven that is notorious for eating almost anything it can get hold of (with or without permission), will go ahead to feed one man in the same location without there ever being a record in the bible of the Raven eating all the food or not providing for Elijah at the set time?

Jesus gave thanks to God and provision was made. He did not just provide enough to meet the immediate need, He provided an abundance; the sort of abundance that was best suited to the particular situation.

Now God did not think for once what people will think about the inconsistency in the two different stories with an equation that did not seem to add up for He does not see the way man sees. He simply saw a need, He made a request and multiplied what had been given and also provided an abundance.

What is your need today? What does the math equation say? Is it tipping off the scale against you? Come to the One who is able to meet you and fill you till you can want no more. In Him, there is an abundance of all things. He is the God of possibilities. Notice that I did not say He is “a” God of possibilities, I am saying He is “the” God of possibilities.

As you can tell already, He is not afraid to take on tasks that seem impossible with men because that is when His glory and power is evident. Are you afraid of what people will think? He isn’t even surprised you have that thought because He formed you! Still, come as you are. He is waiting with arms wide open.

Isaiah 55: 1 – Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Come just as you are.

 

 

Be aware of the past but unhindered into the future

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According to the Oxford dictionary, hindsight is defined as the understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. This therefore means that if our foresight was as effective as our hindsight, we will make some decisions differently. This also means that we might react in a different way to situations in which we felt we wanted something so bad but didn’t get it. At that point in time, it seemed like the “best thing ever” and you would have done absolutely anything to get it however, having armed yourself with more information and a clearer picture of the situation, you can evidently see that you were better off without it and therefore, more forgiving of the past and yourself.

Now, what happens when retrospection does not present you with the sort of information you feel you can easily move on from? What happens when it doesn’t leave you with much worth forgiving or forgetting? Will you keep pondering over what could have been or make a conscious decision to let go?

While hindsight is a good perspective to have, you cannot keep driving a car while looking through your rear view mirror because there is a huge chance you will bump into something.

 hindsight

There is a huge difference between learning lessons from the past and being stuck in the past; playing the events over and over again in your head and wishing that it either happened in a different way, or never even happened at all.

Being stuck in the events of the past is synonymous to being stuck in the mud and yet, expecting to make progress.

stuck in the mud 2

 

While throwing a pity party with the “odds” in your head about how unfair the past was to you might be comforting for a little while, don’t park your life there permanently! Enjoy your 5 minutes pity party and drive out of the parking spot!

Life should be lived in the present while learning from the past and working towards a bright future. The only one that can really stop that future from becoming a reality is you.

It is impossible to ignore the past but do not be a prisoner of your past. Live with the awareness that the past exists but with the freedom that your future is in no way limited by your past.

The future consists of innumerable opportunities waiting to be explored so walk into the future and own it!

Let the challenges of the past build in you strength of character, let the worries of the present drive you deeper into finding a solution, let the scars of your life help tell a story only you can because you have been there, and let the sum of your experiences be the driving force beneath your wings that propels you into a bright future.

Philippians 3:13 – Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
 

Photo credit: KBEAR 101

 

 

 

The rain is more than enough…for your grass and mine

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We often wonder why the rain falls on both sides of the divide.

We are completely happy when it falls on our side because it helps to keep our grass very green and lush. The rain also provides the cool and comfort we so need.

Though we have not formed the rain, we gladly enjoy its benefits. We look across our neighbour’s picket fence and initially, all we see is the scorching sun and we are secretly glad that we have all the rain on our side.

Then the weather changes unexpectedly, the cloud moves partly to the other side of the fence; the cloud now covers a huge part of the sun and brings much needed relief to your neighbour (The same comfort you have thus far enjoyed).

The rain cloud now sits nicely between the fence covering both houses and watering the grass on both sides but that suddenly seems to bring up a problem.  Why has the cloud moved we complain?

Slide1

 

Why do I have to share “my” cloud with my neighbour we ask?

My grass will no longer have sufficient amount of rain to make it as green as I desire we whisper.

Then, finally and unexpectedly, we burst out with the truth; I want “my” rain cloud all to myself!!!

We have neither formed the cloud nor the rain yet, we are saddened that it provides comfort to all at different times.

The rain is neither “yours” nor “mine” but is more than enough to water the grass on both sides without compromising on the lushness of your grass.

Matthew 5:45 – that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 

If we could see the future, we will treat the present very differently

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He knows your name, before you were formed, he knew you and before you were born, he set you apart.

God has a path set for each and every one of us. Your days are numbered and set in his plans, and his thoughts towards you are thoughts of good and not of evil to bring you to an expected end.

He has every tear you have ever cried in a bottle, he knows every situation by name, he has great detail on every problem you are facing and will ever encounter.

He is not silent, but working; working behind the scenes that he might bring you to that expected end he has promised.

He is not a man, he is incapable of lying, so if he has said something to you, believe him and hold-on because faithful is he that has promised. Has he said it? He will surely bring it to pass.

Are you feeling discouraged? Encourage yourself in the Lord and trust in his word.

Are you feeling cheated? He will restore to you the years that have been stolen, every single bit of it.

Do you feel alone? The Lord is always by your side and always willing to speak with you, so talk to him. Show love to someone else and you will be surprised how much love you will get back in return.

Are you afraid? He is right there with you through every situation and every incident. When you pass through the waters, he is with you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.

He is God all by himself. He does not need any extra help to save you and he has the master plan.

Before you were even formed, he knew this day would come and he went ahead of you to prepare a way. It might not feel like it now but a few days, weeks, months or even years from now, you will look back and say, I wished I had worried a bit less, I wish I enjoyed the journey more, I wish I took more time to prepare myself for where God was taking me to.

If we could see the future, we will treat the present very differently.

Though the journey may be tough, bumpy and stressful today, be at peace with it.  Be anxious for nothing and pray about everything. Don’t get wrapped up in your own world and miss out on the great opportunities ahead of you or even right there beside you.

Push your way through the trash, learn from your mistakes, hold-on to the gold in the experience, and throw away the dirt.

Be good and respectful to people through it all, you have no idea where life is taking you.

Make better use of your time. Cherish your peace and guard your heart with all diligence.

Treat the present like you can physically see the future that awaits you and prepare for it accordingly.

 

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