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Finding Sufficiency…

Can I do all my husband wants and yet not lose myself ? How do I handle it when my husband is wrong?

How do you get rid of years of old mind-sets and hurts so as to keep them from constantly coming up and getting in the way of otherwise loving friendships and marriage?

Prioritising my role as a mother, wife, church worker, effective employee, friend, I find that my personal needs are often deprioritised. How do I focus on my own needs without feeling selfish?

If I could choose not to work, is it a better option to stay at home? What kind of role model will that make me to my child?

Whose role is it to sustain the home’s spiritual health and tempo? Is it biblically right for the woman to be spearheading spiritual matters if the man is unresponsive?

Those are just five of 649 questions that I received during an open two-month survey I conducted two years ago as part of the research for my book titled Help! I am a mum. I am sure as a reader you can identify with at least  one of the five questions above and if not with one of the several others in the book.

HIAAM-kindle-cover Coping with a fast-paced life while juggling numerous projects has become the order of the day. For far too long, women have been expected to juggle all of these successfully without clear direction and support on how to focus on what is most important. As a result, the most important aspects of our lives are the ones that slip through the cracks. So we find ourselves being forced to grasp for the wrong things in life, time and time again.

God created us to have a relationship with Him, and He wants us to excel like the woman described in Proverbs 31. He wants us to be in control of our marriage, our parenting, and our homemaking without letting go of our own sense of identity and purpose.

This is what I have tried to explore in this book; looking at insights from scripture plus varying views of other women tackling the same questions in what I hope is a practical approach that includes truths aimed for Christian mums of all types as we go through the difficult questions together.

Book Trailer:

Don’t just take my word for it, here are some reviews on the book …

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I would like to invite you to join me on this journey and would be very glad if you could buy one or more copies for you and your friends. I would love to hear what you think and invite you to share any thoughts, comments or questions as you read through the chapters in the book.

ORDER NOW: 

If you are based in the US, click here to order at $12.99 US ORDER NOW

If you are based in the UK, or anywhere else, click here to order at £6 UK ORDER NOW

If you are based in Nigeria and will like to be informed when the book is available for purchase in local bookstores and online purchase, CLICK HERE

I hope and pray that by reading Help, I Am a Mum! you will be encouraged and reminded about how God can add grace, strength, mercy, and peace to your own journey of motherhood. It is in Him we find all sufficiency to be the kind of women we want to be.

Look forward to hearing back from you!

Every blessing!

Funmi

5

Mary’s Heart, Martha Home – The lies of busyness

Two months ago I played a main part in organising a large service in the community park that involved several months of planning – many different vendors to book & liaising with many other churches.  Over 1000 people were expected and I could feel the weight of the day on my shoulders from budgets right down to ensuring every little part went well. It probably didn’t help that the event happened to fall on our wedding anniversary so I also had a getaway, gift and childcare arrangements to plan as well. Needless to say, by the morning before the event I was a nervous wreck with a very short fuse and snapped at those close to me at the slightest provocation.

The morning of the event broke with the weather still forecasting rain . My heart broke all over again as I prayed even more desperately … Please God don’t let it rain today. I could picture the disaster as it was an open air event and I had made an informed decision not to make arrangements for canopies or shelter in the event of rain. I felt like months of planning and hard work would go up in smoke if it rained and no one turned up!

I was glad as I saw people streaming into the park about ten minutes before the service started. On the dot of 11am when the Reverend picked up the Microphone to start the service, the rain started with a slow but steady shower – not enough to get you soaked but enough to be an annoying distraction and could certainly get you wet and enough to have those on their way to turn back and go home…

It was a beautiful service ( I was told) but I didn’t notice because I spent the entire time walking around trying to make sure every part was moving along smoothly and desperately praying for the rain to stop. It didn’t. 

For weeks after the event I felt a big dissatisfaction about it all until I was reading Luke 10 one morning and the account of Mary and Martha hit me with renewed meaning. Both sisters welcomed Jesus to their home and whilst one busied herself with being hospitable, the other sat at the feet of Jesus to listen. Martha got upset and asked Jesus to intervene and he responded in Luke 10: 42 with:

“But one thing is needed and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her”. 

What a shock it must have been for Martha! was Jesus suggesting no one should take care of the hospitality? What would they eat if everyone decided to sit and listen? Reading this, I felt for Martha because I felt like the Martha in the event we were planning. I felt responsible for making everything go well. So responsible that I missed a very important point:

In choosing to serve God with our work, we must make time with him our Number one priority. There is a time to be still and be in Gods presence. 

When that service started there was nothing more I could do – the whole point of months of planning was to gather a thousand people together in open air worship to God. That was happening but I missed out on it because I was busy worrying about something I had no control over.

Job 38:4 & 12 challenges with : “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth… Have you commanded the morning since your days began?”

As women: we often feel a huge pressure around what we do and I know we must relate with Martha as we strive to fit everything into our busy lives.

The  Proverbs 31 woman & prying eyes of outsiders is there as a constant pressure point to have a perfect home, perfect children with home cooked meals every day… but to what end?
Do we strive so much to be like Martha that we  miss out on the heart that Mary had?

What motivates you as an individual?

Do you strive so much to keep everything around you in order that you sometimes forget to look inwards to your heart and upwards to Christ

I have a new principle now that when I find myself getting worked up about something, I will try to pause and ask myself what is it all for? I will double-check that I am not missing out on that which is truly important for the sake of that which looks aesthetically pleasing in the eyes of men.

Help us Lord to always place priority on time in your presence and to trust that you will/can accomplish through us what you need to within the time available to us in every day. Amen. 

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear about your own experiences in this area and what you did about it.

Rest! In His Provision

Funmi

4

The problem with good advice…

First I must apologise for the extremely long silence. I have lots of good reasons but I won’t bore you with any of those. I am back now and if you will continue to read I will continue to share by Gods Grace.

A dear friend and I were talking about the pitfalls of sharing and taking advice from other Christians and how if we are not careful giving/receiving such advice can slowly become gospel – where opinions can become ‘the way’ of doing things and such advice ( even with the best intentions) is given completely from our wisdom without pointing them to Christ. Very soon after our conversation, she shared this article with me which is right on the ball with a simple but much-needed message!

The link to the article is here but I have also copied it below for your convenience.

THE PROBLEM WITH GOOD ADVICE…

“During my last year of college, I was completely overwhelmed. I was stressed and worried all the time. The semester loomed ahead like a giant mountain I could not climb. Not only was I taking 20 credit hours, doing a counseling internship, and working part-time, I was also planning my wedding hundreds of miles from where it would take place.

A local Christian counselor visited campus once a week to meet with students. One of my professors suggested that I meet with her. I presented the counselor a list of all the things I was doing and explained how overwhelmed and stressed I was. I left the session with another list. She gave me advice on ways to manage my time more effectively. She suggested healthy coping skills and recommended that I get sufficient rest. She even discussed the importance of a support system and encouraged me to reach out to close friends.

These were all helpful suggestions. They were good things for me to do. But one thing was lacking: she never pointed me to Christ.

Problem with Good Advice

When our friends share with us their problems, we often give them advice. It’s one of the characteristics of friendship; we share with one another ideas and solutions that have helped us with our own problems. Whether it is a helpful tip on budgeting money or how to manage our busy schedules or ideas on ways to get a child to sleep better at night, we love to share advice with one another.

We are quick to make a solution into a savior. 

The problem comes when our advice sounds no different from the advice a counselor from another religion or even no religion at all would give. If an atheist would suggest the same child-rearing techniques or a Buddhist the same stress-management strategies as we do, then there is something missing from our counsel. Even though truth is truth no matter who says it, the advice that followers of Christ give ought to point to the source of all truth.

True wisdom and knowledge cannot be found apart from Christ. Colossians 2:3 tells us that in Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Christ is wisdom made flesh. “And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

In addition, giving advice, no matter how helpful, apart from the truth of Christ can often encourage a recovering Pharisee to add your suggestion to an already long list of things to do to make life work apart from the grace of Christ. Our idol-producing hearts are quick to take any helpful advice and put all our hope in it. We are quick to make a solution into a savior.

In the case of my counseling experience, I simply exchanged one list for another. I followed my counselor’s list to a “T.” I dutifully checked everything off. But in the end, I felt no better than before. I was still exhausted and overwhelmed because I needed to hope in Christ, to know that he was enough for me. My heart needed to hear that Christ cared about the burdens I carried. If he had gone to such great lengths to rescue me from sin and death, would he not also be with me in those struggles? How could I not trust him to strengthen and help me during that stressful season? What I needed was to trust, rely, and rest in the grace of Christ, not in my time-management skills.

Giving Christ-Centered Advice

The practical tips we so readily give to our friends won’t necessarily work for them. Though a financial management system may have rescued your family from debt, it may not work the same way with your friend. While the sleeping system you used with your children helped them all to sleep through the night at a young age, it may not work for anyone else.

But the wisdom of God’s Word is always beneficial. No matter the situation, reminding friends of who they are because of what Christ has done is a life-giving, soul-refreshing truth worth far more than a thousand how-to books. Reminding them that they are esteemed more in the eyes of God than the sparrows he never fails to feed daily is a truth they can cling to when finances are tight. Pointing friends to the God who made them, who redeemed them, and works in them in the midst of their stressful job, is wise, lasting, and true counsel. Speaking the truth to friends about the God who rules, reigns, and cares for all the details of their lives gives real hope in the midst of an uncertain future.

I’m not saying we should never give practical advice. Share your helpful ideas on getting children to do their chores or how to choose a good school or ways to balance the family budget. But don’t give advice apart from wisdom incarnate, Jesus Christ. Don’t give your advice as though it is the savior your friends need to make life better. Rather, point them to the Savior. Only in Christ do we find real, lasting, and life-changing wisdom”

Christina Fox is a licensed mental health counselor, coffee drinker, writer, and homeschooling mom, not necessarily in that order. She lives with her husband of 18 years and two boys in sunny South Florida. You can find her sharing her journey in faith at www.toshowthemjesus.com and on Facebook.

So what is the take away from this? don’t give advice apart from wisdom incarnate, Jesus Christ. Don’t give your advice as though it is the savior your friends need to make life better. Rather, point them to the Savior. Only in Christ do we find real, lasting, and life-changing wisdom.

Rest! In His Provision

Funmi

8

Do you know the Bus Driver?

As we approach the end of the year and  start the exciting process of looking forward to the new year with hope, plans and aspirations, I thought I would share an experience I had seven years ago while I was studying for my MBA in the lovely and friendly town of Glasgow (Scotland) and I pray you will be blessed and find some value in my sharing this story.

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I was at the bus stop…If the bus didn’t come in another minute, I would be late for lectures.  I found myself silently praying that the driver would drive faster so he could get to me on time. Thankfully, the bus arrived about a minute later and I scrambled on.

Just as I got on, a lady coming in behind me stopped by the driver’s window and said to him “hello, how are you doing?”

I didn’t hear the drivers’ response but I walked to my seat wondering if she knew him, and if she didn’t, why she felt the need to say hello. I took a sit at the back and watched as the bus stopped and for the first time observed how more and more people said ‘Hi’ when they got in, some ‘bye’ as they got off…

I had lived in Glasgow for about six months at this point and I wondered if this was another quirky town trait I had someone missed.  Life in London was very much different, people were constantly in a hurry and no one had the time to stop and exchange pleasantries with someone they didn’t know…

When I got home, I shared my experience with my flat-mate and she surprised me further by saying she knew most of the drivers that plied our route.

It was at that point that it occurred to me that I got on the bus to and fro the Business School everyday for the past five months and I had no idea what the driver(s) looked like…(Male, female, black, white, fat, thin, sad /smiley face) I had no idea – I always just got on the bus, showed the driver my bus pass without actually ever looking at his/her face.

When I showed surprise, she said “I see them every single day, they get me where I am going, how could I possibly not recognise them?”

Slinking quietly away to my room,  I pondered at my apparent lack of observation at the world around me … In those quiet moments on my bed, I learnt something else that day…

Most of the time, our relationship with God is like mine with the bus driver(s). I couldn’t be bothered about who they were as far as they got me where I was going. They were a necessary means to an end.

I realised that in some ways I, like some people saw God ‘as a means to an end’… The “Big guy” that got things done – that new job, car, heals our sick, gives us well-behaved and healthy children and makes us rich (how could I forget that!) …without intending to, we can treat  him as one would the bus driver, that ‘solution’ we only remember/think of when we need him!.

This leads to a weak personal relationship with the Father… Paul’s prayer is a very apt one;

10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death Philipians 3:10 ( AMP) 

In the harsh light of day, I  realised how selfish my relationship with God had been. I could honestly say that I loved God but I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t because He was the World’s best ‘means to an end’. 

That night I prayed and asked God to be my Father, Creator and Lord …Just because.

I asked Him to teach me and show me what I am really here for and to teach me to use prayers as a tool for thanksgiving and for seeking His Will instead of purely a tool for selfish requests. Does that mean I don’t have any moments when I ask ‘give’, ‘I want’, I need? No… It just means my wants and needs are now encapsulated in the knowledge that God has painted a masterful picture of His plan for the world and I am a small part of it. So the best thing I can do is to stay connected to the Master Artist. This Bible verse says it better…

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. Ephesians 1:11 (MSG)

Food for thought:

As we wrap up this year but before we get overwhelmed with festivities and traditions, Can you find a moment to pause… and think of ways you might change your attitude about God from being the “big guy/ bus driver” to the Master Artist who keeps all things connected and through that connection seeks a personal relationship with you? Do share any thoughts in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Merry Christmas!

Rest! in His Provision

Funmi x

8

The point is not…fluff

Authored By Adesikeoye..

I am in favour of women (and men) loving God with all their heart, soul and might (Deut. 6:5). Although the referenced Bible passage doesn’t explicitly mention the mind, it is logical to infer that allusion is to the whole being, of which the mind is an essential part.

You probably have heard this often-cited quote credited to Kenneth D. Boa; ‘The heart cannot rejoice in that which the mind rejects’. What this simply means is that ideally, heartfelt emotions flow out of a prior knowledge of a fact or piece of information. Stripped of form or style, worship is at its heart, a response to knowledge. We see this same principle played out in our everyday lives; how about sparing a thought to judge the validity of that claim?

Sometimes, as believers, our default disposition tends towards a disdain for any intellectual pursuit with a valid reason for not wanting to get embroiled in debates, theories and speculations; we just want to love Jesus and get on with that, while we leave the hard work of studying to the theologians. I once heard that disposition likened to a team of footballers who were quite eager to ‘get on’ with a game of football despite the fact that a football was conspicuously missing from the field. On the surface, it seems a rather inconsequential posture to take, yet on a second thought; it’s somewhat unsavoury to think that the Christian life will be lived without much deference to the pursuit of truth as revealed by God. Also, the call to know and love God invariably designates any and every believer as a theologian, so we’re not given the luxury of choosing otherwise.

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find women’s conferences and fora tailored to meet the felt needs of women at every stage of life. On one hand, some of these meetings are great and commendable, yet on the other hand, there often appears to be a gap in reconciling these perceived needs (which are in no way illegitimate) with the real need of an individual. This proverbial ‘missing the forest for the trees’ need not be the trend among Christian women, who should, as the Bible enjoins, rather be about the business of comprehending with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge… (Eph 3:18).

So… if fluff isn’t the point, what then is?

Being true to the Bible – Whatever stage we’re at in our journey, we’ll benefit a great deal from keeping things in perspective, and that includes our individual pain or gain in life. A good way of doing this would be to get a firm grasp of the overarching story-line of the Bible and be reminded that God is about His purpose in history, after all, it’s His story, not ours. With such a foundation laid, we may just be well on the way to getting our ducks in a row.

Whist there may be multiple application areas of the truth revealed in the word of God, faithfulness in seeking to understand the true meaning of a text within its context is a good starting point. In other words, the subjective question ‘what does this mean to me?’ should only come after the objective question ‘what does this mean?’ has been faithfully answered, otherwise, the Bible will be subject to as many interpretations as there are readers.

Reading to some purpose – If you’re anything like me, reading could be more of a challenge than leisure. But it’s never altogether hopeless on the journey of intellectual nourishment, there’s room for a trudge here and another there.

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where we are blessed with endless resources in print and media to aid our pursuit of knowing and loving God. Certainly, not every material out there will make for good and purposeful reading, so we’ll be wise to pass potential reads through the Philippians 4:8 filter (whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things).

So, here’s a challenge to be women of the Word, tucking into the pages and reading the Bible (and any other book that passes the Phil 4.8 test) for all it’s worth!

About me:

I am a Christian woman learning the ropes of being a godly wife and mother, a wobbly step at a time. I am desirous to see women armed with the truth of God’s word, fulfilling their God-given roles; whatever stage of life they’re at.

4

Nourishing You… Physically

When I was in my second year in University, I was heavily involved in my campus fellowship and belonged to different other groups each with its own set  of required commitments. One of those commitments was to fast till sundown ( usually 6pm) and meet in a central place for prayers before breaking the fast. That meant I would not have my first ( and only meal) until around 8pm. I  was fasting 4 or 5 days out of every week and often had meetings running till very late at night. Of course I still had to make time for my academics because I was determined not to drop below my GP grade of 2:1. It was such a charged and exciting period for me.

I didn’t realise how sickly I looked and my dad was constantly worried about me and my health. All his admonition fell on deaf ears because I felt my ‘ mission’ was more important than the ‘mere distraction’ of eating a simple meal!  It wasn’t until I fell ill and was useless for over a week with the return of a long dormant ulcer condition that I was forced to take my health more seriously. In the week I was ‘out of commission’ I could not eat, pray, study the bible, attend lectures , fellowship with other believers etc… and I remember my dad being at my bedside at the hospital when he quietly told me:

“Funmi, as long as you have need of your physical body, you need to take care of it as you need it to fulfil the mission of your soul and spirit. Your spirit and soul exist in a body and cannot function optimally in a sick body!”

On returning to campus, I made some changes to those choices that had an impact on me physically. The story of Elijah being fed by Ravens and later by the widow in 1 Kings 17:1-11  is a reminder than even in the midst of a great mission, God thought it was important for Elijah to remain nourished physically. I particularly like the way Vs 9 says behold; I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. I checked definition of  Sustain and it means;

To keep in existence; To supply with necessities or nourishment;  To support from below; keep from falling or sinking;  To support the spirits, vitality, or resolution of; To bear up under; 

Caring for ourselves physically is a recurring theme through life and one we certainly have to deal nourishing youwith when we become parents. There is often the temptation to put everything else first while we run ourselves ragged trying to keep everything else in its place. What then happens when our bodies give out on us? those very things we cared about in the first place go without the care and attention they deserve because we are not in the ‘place’ physically to take care of them.

How we can Sustain ourselves….

Nourishing Food & Exercise This goes without saying that it is important to make attempts to eat healthy even when there is the temptation to eat Junk food all the time. Some known advantages to eating healthy include but are not limited to; improves mood, boosts energy, controls weight and improves longevity. In our role as caregivers to our children and spouses, this short list looks like pretty good motivation to want be in a better place to care for our loved ones and support our spirits! Food and exercise is about caring for our bodies and 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 demands we take good care of it saying; ‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body’

Rest  – A wise verse in Ecclesiastes 4:6 says; Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” The world seems to tell us we need to hang on to two handfuls as we toil away in order to find true happiness.  I am beginning to learn that letting stuff go, and saying “no”, and cutting back and throwing away at least frees up one hand so  guess what is on the other side of one handful = tranquility! Rest is good and essential for you and if you do not have a planned time of rest that your family and others can recognise and respect, there you need to begin putting one in place now.

Do you have other areas you consider important to physical nourishment? Please share in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Rest in His Provision!

Funmi

 

9

Nourishing you… Spiritually

In our last post we talked about the importance of taking care of yourself as a mum and how that puts you in a better place to take care of those around you. The analogy I used was how it is practically impossible to nourishing youkeep anything of value in a leaky basket. As women we are in a dynamic position where a great deal is entrusted to us and sometimes in the pursuit of family, home, career and so on, we forget to take care of ourselves. That can go on for so long until the body begins to fall into a state of disrepair ( both physically and spiritually) which in real terms means that we cannot really do a good job with all that has been entrusted to us because you simply cannot give what you do not have.

Today we will look at how to nourish ourselves spiritually. Many of the points I will highlight will already be familiar to you but I hope you in reading through this you are encouraged to check your actions through God’s word.

I am very grateful that God often finds a way to get my attention when I am running myself ragged on fumes and not being faithful to the instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16 : Keep a close watch on how you live …Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. When I stop for a minute to take an honest look at myself during those ‘down’ times, I usually find that I have let my faithfulness to one of three areas of my spiritual walk fall through the cracks and go untended.

Prayer Prayer is the way in which we communicate with God so we can get to know Him better. It should not be limited to ‘Father give me, I want, I need‘ requests otherwise you will be in a relationship where your only link to God is what you get from him. A healthy prayer life is one where the communication flows both ways because you genuinely love the One you are in that communication with and actually want to be in that place of communion with Him. I am constantly humbled by Psalm 145:18 as it clearly states: The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  In ‘much fewer words, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 simply says;  pray continually!

Studying the Word – How important it is for every Christian to be a student of the word! To do this, one must step away from the temptation to limit the reading of the bible to just a verse that promises you all the good things for the day.  Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action) – 2 Tim 3:16. If we are to believe what this verse says about the bible, then shouldn’t we be trying to know all about it? If you have never read the whole bible before then I encourage you to start today. It is such a wonderful experience especially when you choose to read it book by book to understand the context. A few years ago I decided make my reading of the whole bible in 90 days a yearly challenge. Every time I undertake the challenge I am humbled, energised, refreshed and excited all again – About this amazing God and his love for me, about His divine purpose for me and the opportunity to reassess where I am in the midst of all that. Psalm 119:11 says: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you… how do we avoid sinning against God if we do not know His word much less storing it up in our hearts?

Fellowship –  There is a  popular quote by Jim Rohn that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This is very true as far as your enabling environment is concerned. For many people the five people on their list would be work colleagues. This could paint a dire picture for the working christian who doesn’t have any christian colleagues and not enough time for regular fellowship with other Christians. Hebrews 10:25 encourages us: not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing nearThis means you have to be intentional about incorporating a consistent and engaging time of fellowship where you can be nourished and encouraged in your spiritual walk otherwise  you could be leaving a back window for the devil to take a chip at your spiritual life. Whilst it is nice to have hearty and fun conversations with our Christian friends ( and I do love that :-) ), make sure that not ALL your conversation is filled with godless chatter ( 2 Tim 2:16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly) but that you are able to walk away from such conversations/ hangouts with some nourishment to your soul. 

I hope you have found this useful. May I encourage you to assess yourself and in doing so, remember to check yourself through God’s word and not other people’s perceptions.

Do you have other areas you consider important to spiritual nourishment? Please share in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Rest in His Provision!

Funmi