What a week it has been for your girl!
Last Thursday, the most awaited event of my life occurred: I was #Finally25.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve waited forever for this age. Why? I dunno. I just feel like I’ve been 25 since I was about 18 and it seems a lot of people thought I was 25 already anyway, judging by the “wait, you’re just turning 25?” messages I kept getting. Ha!
I have way too many things to be grateful for: the gift of life, my best friends, my family, having a job, the ever present hand of God on my life and the most recent blessing of finally having a much clearer idea of what my calling and purpose is in life (anyone who has figured this out for themselves can relate to this priceless feeling and the kind of focus it encourages).
A lot has happened in the year leading to 25 and, I must say, it certainly wasn’t all sugar, spice and everything nice.
So I thought I’d take y’all on a trip with me down memory lane (P.s. words in bold indicate testimonies):
August 2015: What I believe to have been my wilderness period kinda began. I barely blogged that month – only once to be precise. I found myself in an unsettled living situation as my previous landlord had decided he wanted to sell his property at the end of July 2015 so we all had to up and leave. I had managed to find a one bed flat in a building right beside my former one but 4 days to moving in, the landlord changed his mind. Thankfully, God had already prepared a place for me to stay in for the next three months – not my preference or ideal scenario but it did help me save some money which came in handy the following month. However, a nice highlight in the month was my new flatmate throwing me an unexpected party in the flat which was really sweet and at the end of the month, I was invited for my first speaking engagement at a Christian Youth Conference.
September 2015: I didn’t blog at all that month, I think because I was studying for my third attempt of one of my ACA papers and was having a really hard time at work. However, I also got my Indefinite Leave to Remain and I finally found a flat ahead of an October move.
October 2015: It looked like things started picking up again in my world as I finally moved into my one bedroom flat (at last, my own space!) after a two weeks delay to move at the beginning of the month. I also got the text letting me know that I had passed my exam on the same day I moved into this flat – this meant I wasn’t going to be fired (phew!). Finally having my own space meant I could think a million times straighter in solitude and of course this gave room for much introspection and brought about posts such as [btn text=”Mirror, Mirror” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2015/10/mirror-mirror/” target=”_blank”], [btn text=”Remember Who You Are Before They Told You Who To Be” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2015/10/remember-who-you-were-before-they-told-you-who-to-be/” target=”_blank”], [btn text=”Standing Firm In Your True Identity” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2015/10/standing-firm-in-your-true-identity/” target=”_blank”] and [btn text=”When You’ve Done Everything You Know To Do” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2015/10/when-youve-done-everything-you-know-to-do/” target=”_blank”].
November/December 2015: From what I remember, these were pretty decent months as I settled more into my own space and experienced more of an unwrapping of my identity with much help from the Holy Spirit.
January – August 2016: As 2016 approached, I actually wasn’t sure what to expect or what to even ask God for but I knew from early on in January that a new season of change was coming for me even though I knew not when or how.
The last 5 months have definitely been bittersweet and full of surprises nonetheless:
- I reported someone to the police because I thought it was a domestic violence case but the police also found out they were Class A drug dealers (basically I was part of my very own real-life episode of CSI London – looked out for my fellow woman and got more drugs of the street);
- [btn text=”I was granted a secondment opportunity within my firm” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/03/the-approval-that-trumps-all-others-testimony-time/” target=”_blank”] (which I factually did not deserve) to work for our independent charity for 9 months – a much more fulfilling role than audit;
- I broke my corner of the internet with [btn text=”Pray For Him” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/02/pray-for-him/” target=”_blank”];
- I had that dilemma about [btn text=”whether I should have gone clubbing” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/03/stephs-asking-should-i-have-gone-clubbing/” target=”_blank”] (lol!) and;
- Let’s not forget that [btn text=”little but powerful prayer miracle” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#FFF thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/04/he-who-does-not-expect-cannot-receive-testimony-time/” target=”_blank”] I had with Apple when I carelessly broke my MacBook screen.
- Hillsong Colour Conference 2016 was also amaze-balls and a massive highlight for the end of April 2016, for sure!
Everything seemed fairly peachy, really, until beginning of April when my 5+ years relationship had to come to a screeching halt. Boy, was that an emotional roller-coaster and I had never been more confused in my life about so many things, including the rumours I was hearing about myself too, from people that knew NOTHING about my life but hey, haters gon’ always hate, right?!
Anyway, many valuable lessons accompanied the journey and here are as many as I can realistically remember. Hope they bring you much needed encouragement:
- Trusting God is THE best decision anyone can make daily because, do you really know your left from your right if God doesn’t make it so?
- God always gives us the right people we need in each season of life we experience. So whether they come with good or bad, we know that all things work together for good of them that love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans chapter 8 verse 28).
- Social media really doesn’t deserve to know EVERYTHING about you and what you’re up to- keep the intimate moments for your inner circle and those who have been proven time and time again. And if you feel you do need to share everything online then you probably should check what you have hinged your joy and identity on.
- Avoid those who seek to discourage you like a plague that has no cure – you will lose sight of your greatness if you pander to their mediocrity-driven cynicism. Be ruthless in cutting such people off!
- My God-given vision will not necessarily be met with the same enthusiasm by others – it’s not their vision after all. However, if you do spot those who see a glimmer of what you see then be sure to hold them close because you’ll need them on the tough days.
- Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal – it makes even the most heinous offences so irrelevant in comparison to God’s grace and love. It also makes you more humble because you will find that God can often use your source(s) of disappointment to elevate you if you obey His instructions to extend grace and mercy to those who hurt you. Not the easiest call to obey but with prayer, you’ll be amazed how much of a walk in the park it can be.
- The closer you draw to God, the larger a heart he gives you for people everywhere. Steven Furtick puts this beautifully: “You can’t worship Christ properly AND treat people like crap”. No matter what you think about a person, they are still part of the world that God loved so much that He sent Christ to die for them too. Pray that God gives you vision to see people like He does.
- Knowing Who God is and all He stands for is infinitely better than the material blessings He bestows on us. Having God, through Christ, is really the equivalent of having EVERYTHING that really matters in this life and eternity.
- Resist the temptation to compromise on what God is telling you to do, no matter how difficult. If you don’t let Him come through for you at any point, then you’ve robbed yourself of knowing that He can definitely come through for you ALL the time.
So all in all, I’m just tremendously grateful to be #25AndAlive because some people didn’t get to see 25 whilst others knocked on 25’s door but didn’t get to take more than 2 or 3 steps in.
Life is truly a gift and I’m so excited to see God’s hand move – in this age of 25 which is apparently biblically symbolic of grace – in a way He has never moved before, all to His glory so that I may be as the one who is described in Jeremiah chapter 9 verse 24 (AMPC):
“But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”
And (randomly) here’s a piccie of one of my fave features at my party: a dessert table set up with love by three of my besties (and of course, me standing right beside it) 😀
Happy birthday to meeeeee!