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Grace… sufficient for when life happens!

By July 26th, 2014Uncategorized14 min read

I had a very emotional reaction
to something a friend called to tell me a couple of weeks back. Highly
emotional! I mean, I literally burst into tears. It was a combination of very
deep hurt that she would leave me out of that experience – though I didn’t know
exactly what the issue was at the time (yours truly having been too upset to
hear her out completely) and an even deeper pain that she’d had to go through it
by herself regardless. I had said to her that I could only be as much a friend
to her as she would allow me. In responding, she had tried to explain briefly
how intense things had been on her side, which I must admit incensed, me all
the more. Why? Because if anyone truly knows me, they know that I drop
everything without a second thought, in order to be available to my near
strangers – much less dear friends who are in need. I would not have been too
busy to make time to be at her side, visit her in hospital, or if she were out
of town, call and text her several times a day to encourage her and pray with
her.  I was so upset that I literally
couldn’t speak, so we had a bit of an exchange by text with me trying to let
her know how hurt I was, and she trying to calm me down with a promise to call
back to give me the full details when I was more settled. She’d ended her chat with
these words: ‘Life happened, sis!’

Life happened!
Such a simple phrase and yet
packed with so much depth. Those words settled every upset I had at the time
completely and have stayed with me ever since. Life happened! Life happens…and
when it does, there can sometimes be such unpredictability to our actions and
reactions, but for the grace and power of God.  Life happens and has certainly been happening
to me. ‘Life happens’ is the summary of my hiatus from this forum for so many
weeks now. You see sis, life has been happening to me, and it has not been an
easy ride. My travails over the past few weeks are enough to have written a book
on. It has been one thing after the other, and if I will admit it, it has been
pretty overwhelming. One of my sistas came to see me recently and had said to
me that I had an odd kind of calm about me. Given that I am ordinarily a very
calm person, her use of the qualifier ‘odd’ told me she could sense something
was off. And how right she was! I was inordinately calm because I was ready to
implode sis, I was. The combination of physical and mental exhaustion,
emotional upset, and having to be strong for everyone at home and at work
despite all of that, had me working all my autopilot controls to the max. You
can relate right?
So yeah, life happens, sis! But
we can’t give up can we? Nope! Remember we are called to be relentless right? If
you haven’t read my previous post ‘Relentless’, let me encourage you to look it
up in my archives sis. I saw something on Facebook a couple of days ago which
said ‘’Giving up is like slashing the other three tyres of your car just
because one tyre went flat”. I thought how it spoke brilliantly to what our
response to the pressures of life should be – that if life pushes us down in
one area, we must continue to move nonetheless. It never is all bad. Never! ….especially
not with God on our side.
I see now that there is a reason
why the Lord allowed me this ‘Life Happens’ experience at this point in time in
my life. Last week, the 7th annual ROTH (Return of The Helper)
conference held here in Lagos. It has been my privilege and blessing to be a
part of this event for a few years now, but this year the Lord simply took
things to the next level. This year, the Lord allowed me to see, hear and
understand with more clarity than ever before, that even though life happens,
He literally holds us through every storm and uses our trials to build us and
others up. This year, the Lord allowed me meet in the flesh, a lady who has
been a friend and encourager, even though we had never met, and had only spoken
on one occasion. At ROTH 2014, I was blessed to meet Dr. Irene Olumese, along
with her remarkable husband and sons.
Sis, I can’t tell you in this
space what Irene’s story has been. I was simply enthralled as she spoke on “Graced for Glory’, sharing her life story openly and freely to help us see. Suffice it to say for over 20 years, starting
just a couple  of years after they got married, they have struggled through one horrendous attack on her health or the other, and
several surgeries to boot – the last of which had the doctors amputate both her
legs. Indeed, her hands were to have been amputated as well, but the Lord our
God Who is mighty to save countered the Doctors say and restored her hands to
life completely. He had promised to give her ‘Feet of Grace that would carry
her where her natural feet could not take her’, and God has been true to this
word. As she shared her story, all I wanted to do was to shout ‘ENOUGH PLEASE!’.
Several people in the audience simply sobbed uncontrollably. I was too numb for
that though. You see, I knew a bit of the story. My sistas and I had held Irene
up in prayers on several occasions, including through the time of the
amputation. But I know now that I didn’t have depth of understanding and
clarity regarding just how long and how intense her sufferings had been until
that day at ROTH.
Life happened to my sista Irene
Olumese BUT….to the glory of God, she is still standing and standing strong.
Halleluyah! Irene is walking, she is dancing, she is using her life and experiences
to teach people around the world what the GRACE of God really means. She is
literally showing that what the enemy meant for evil, the Lord is using for
good. Yes sis, her prosthetic ‘Feet of Grace’ have literally taken her to
minister God’s love and mercy across countries of the world that she would
otherwise never have been to. I watched this amazing woman smiling, laughing,
singing with all her heart in worship to the father, hugging people, listening
intently to them and offering words of counsel, praying with them. 
I watched Irene and never saw her wince in pain. I saw her pouring out of herself continuously
so that those around her could receive a touch from God in their lives. I heard
her declare boldly that this second chance the Lord had given her at life –
complete with a new set of lungs (yes, I said lungs) and new feet, are
dedicated completely in service to Him. I heard her challenge us by her life,
to truly live for God. I watched her and ‘heard’ her unspoken determination to
help God’s children truly see and know Him through her life experiences. I watched
her, and I loved and love her with an intensity that can only be of the Lord. I
celebrated this amazing woman at ROTH 2014 and I will always celebrate Dr.
Irene Olumese …. So much strength packed into such a lithe frame. Yes ma’am,
the Lord showed each of us that day that He is God, and He is ALWAYs with us. I
encourage you to share Irene’s walk through her blog
and her Feet of Grace ministry.  
I celebrate also Dr. Peter
Olumese and their sons Ose and Ehi. I found myself watching them constantly
with a lump in my throat. Peter has stood beside Irene like a rock through the
years. The truth is that the ‘For better, for worse’ vows notwithstanding, no young
man or woman goes into marriage with the expectation of the kind of ‘for worse’
experiences that these two have had. But Peter has been stoic! He has
exemplified Jesus Christ Who is our ROCK! He has been a pillar of strength. He has
been love in Irene’s life as God is love in ours. I doff my heart to you sir. 
Their sons, Ose and Ehi….these are young men who have loved and nurtured their mother
through thick and thin. They have physically carried her, they have kept house for her, they have cooked for her, they have fed her. They have given up time with friends and parts of their social lives in order to be there for her. I watched them always on guard. They were so attuned
with her needs – if she needed to sit, if she needed to stand, if she needed a
tissue, or a glass of water. They escorted her everywhere, and never did I sense
any form of exasperation as is common with youth. That these young men love and
are unabashedly and wholeheartedly committed in love to serve their mother is
crystal clear (speaking even more to the great woman that Irene is- as wife,
and as mother). These were gentlemen to the core and I don’t doubt Ose and Ehi
will make amazing husbands to some blessed daughters of God one day. Yes, I celebrate
these fine young men. The Lord will certainly not forget their labour of love and
great shall their rewards be in Jesus name, amen.
As I think about how the Lord
used and is using Irene and her family to minister to me, I want to leave a few
things with you sis:
NEVER GIVE UP! ……..First is
to say again, never give up sis! Never give up! There is truly always someone
out there who has it ssssoooooo much worse than you do, so always find it in
yourself to thank God that whatever you are dealing with is not much worse than
it otherwise could have been. There is always something good in our situations
if we would only open our eyes to see. The Lord is clear in His word that He
will never give us any temptation we cannot bear, and He promises a way of
escape. Giving up means we don’t truly believe; that we don’t think we are
able; and worse still… that we don’t think He is able!
PUSH BACK! …….Push back sis! The
word of God tells us that if a righteous man falls seven times, he still rises.
And remember it is the righteousness of Christ that we walk in and not our own,
so don’t allow the enemy and the spirit of condemnation begin to make you
question whether you qualify under the scripture reserved for the righteous. You
are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus sis. Never forget this….and
knowing this, get up! No matter how long you have been down, get up! Push back!
Remind the enemy that you serve a God Who is more than able to see you through
and use your life for His glory. Remind yourself that you are called for a
purpose, that the Lord did not create you as a space-filler on the earth. No,
He called you to carry out an assignment and as long as you refuse to stay
down, you will fulfill your assignment in Jesus name. Don’t stop writing, don’t
stop speaking, don’t stop loving, don’t stop trying, don’t stop giving your
very best! Don’t withdraw from living. No, push back at life sis! When life
happens, push back. Your Father is the Giver of Life. He is the Author and the
Finisher. In Him do all things consist! Nothing is impossible to Him and
nothing shall be impossible for you if you lean on Him for strength. He has
called us to live and live gloriously sis, and so shall it be if we refuse to
be bowed down by the storms of life. 
TRUST GOD! …..Trust God sis! Trust
Him with your mistakes, your messes, your failings. Trust Him to work things
out for your good. Trust Him to bring helpers into your life to see you through
every situation or challenge you may be facing. And open yourself to be helped
sis! Do NOT allow the enemy isolate you! Isolation and mental domination are
the devils ways of pressing you down and keeping you focused on your problems –
magnifying your largely unfounded fears and creating problems in your mind that
don’t even exist. If we would but look up to God, sis! He is our strength, and
He is our Helper. When life happens, trust God! Go to the place of worship. Worship
even if you can’t find it in you to utter a single word of prayer. As your
worship rise to His ears, God Himself will infill you afresh with a confidence
that nothing life throws at you is greater than that which He has purposed for
you. He will release grace and strength to you, so that like my sister Irene and
her family, you will be able to smile, to dance, to have the confidence that
God is mindful of you, that His grace is sufficient for you, and that all
things will certainly work out for your good.
The Lord helps and will continue
to help you and I sis. Even where life happens and situations and circumstances puts us on crutches, like Irene you and I must lean on He Who is the ultimate crutch, and we must LIVE sis! We must! With the Lord on or side, we will live… to the praise and to the glory of His name! This is my confidence and trust… and so shall it be, in
Jesus mighty name. Amen and Amen!
Be blessed sis….. for you surely

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