ibukun akinnawo: joy
When I got an email from She Reads Truth I did not know what I was going to write, but my heart knew that it wanted to share something with the women I have been doing Bible study with for a few months now.
God has been more than good to me, He has been God to me and I’m grateful for it. My heart sings for that one, singular, uncomplicated reason.
Now as I sit and type out my testimony, I wonder what greater testimony there is to share than the testimony of salvation. I’m a nineteen-year-old (turning 20 in July) Nigerian girl living in Nigeria. I lost my mom the year I turned 12 and I got a stepmom three months after. The following year, I tried to run away with a boy and by the time I turned 16, I had started doing things I had no business with in the first place. My heart was bitter, resentful and hateful. God pursued me the year after my mother died and I gave myself to Him in a catholic chapel of a girls-only catholic high school but I didn’t stay given to Him. Like the seed that fell on soil but was choked up by thorns, God became less relevant to me when I got into University. I knew I needed Him but I had fallen from what I thought was His good graces so many times; I did not think He wanted anything to do with me.
I thought to myself: Hell really is just fire and sulphur…it can’t be that bad.
I was lying to myself. I knew I was lying to myself, but I felt powerless.
Five years after I initially gave myself to God, I gave myself to Him again. I thought that would be the last time I would be giving myself to God and I vowed to myself that it would be the last time. But I have come to find that in this business of a relationship with God, I have to give myself to Him every day.
One time, I let myself give into temptation…again. And that feeling of hopelessness washed over me, threatening to drown me.
I was numb when the Lover of my soul came to me and said to me:
“I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine and you will finally know me as the LORD.” – Hosea 2:19-20 (NLT)
But Lord, I said, I am weak and I am unfaithful to you.
My faith is weak.
The temptations are strong.
My knees are shaky.
My heart has no sentries around it so I’m falling for everything.
I am a mess.
I’m falling back on counting the gifts you have given me.
I’m falling back on scripture memory
I’m falling back
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him. Let your lives be built on Him then your faith will grow strong in the truth you have been taught and you will overflow with thankfulness” – Colossians 2:6-8 (NLT)
And now, just as I have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, I must continue to fall in love with Him…to follow Him.
To let my roots grow down into Him
To let my life be built on Him
Only then will my faith grow strong and only then will counting gifts become a joy and not a chore.
So as a new day begins and my faith feels so small in my heart, like a woman longing for water in the wilderness, I will hang on to the right hand of my God for dear life. If I can’t testify about anything else, I can testify that my King loves me that He strengthens my heart and that He holds me securely in my moments of weakness. It is when I am weak that He shines through me.
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart, he is mine forever” – Psalm 73:26 (NLT)
// Ibukun’s Blog //