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Emerging from The Threshing Floor

I once travelled with a childhood friend and her family to their village for Christmas decades ago. Our destination was to the eminent village of Oraukwu in Anambra State. Approximately 20km southwest of Awka, local govt center, and about 500km (7 hour-drive) to my home in Lagos.

Adventure Mindset,  checked! Mystified Expectations, checked!

River Niger Bridge, Onitsha, Anambra State.

As a teenager then, leaving my usual Lagos city life at Christmas and pledging to spend it outside my home for the first time came as a huge surprise to everyone, but I wanted more, so much more than the usual-fancy block-street carnival party that’s always been religiously celebrated by my Lagos-Brazilian Quarter families every Christmas.

So, here I was, surrounded with very little understanding of the Igbo language spoken around me. But I was most certainly comfortable with the usual ‘Ndo’‘Kedu’ ‘Odinma’ etc. greetings from well-wishers, even as my girlfriends and host were my interpreter! Lol.

Of all the pleasant people I met, the magnificent houses built like National Theater or something magical from a classical movie tucked away behind clouds of trees and dusty unpaved roads!

The fleet of exotic cars lined up as baseline to the entrance of gigantic gates, of all the flames from exposed make shift kitchens blaring up and convincing everyone of palatable feasts in production.

Of all the performances by the energetic village dancers or new exquisite soup like Oha to consume, I was more thrilled by the action of the group of women assigned to cook. 

Oha soup
Oha Soup

I stood astonished watching as their bodies swayed in unison, wiping away sweat from their foreheads while their laughter deepens, bare feet stamping over spread-out sack-like cloth on flat ground, digging their heels harder as if deliberately commanding the out-sprout of the contents inside the sacks.

With such naïve inquisition, I later learned it was a usual process of shelling the seeds of cucurbitaceous (squash, melon, gourd) plants which after being dried and grounded will be used as major ingredients by the women cooking. 

Wow! Such an intriguing resonating revelation!

That was the very first time I encountered the term ‘Threshing Floor’ in a cultural context: an evolution and transformation of seed/ grains. Well, until I attended the just completed heartening ‘Emergence Conference’ powered by Esther’s Preparation Room.

What-an-Awe-inspiring gathering of Purpose-driven Professional women on a Mission for God!!

What an exhilarating Thursday evening of deliverance from those fancy adornments we use as cover-up and fronts to please the world!, what a deliberate cry of mercy to disconnect from what/how the world requires women to look like, a purposeful drive to adopt 3-unknown prayer buddies! ‘beautifully delivered by Minister Raeni of Nehemiah Troop Prayer Ministry!

Oh, what a remarkable and powerful Friday of prayer/prophesies that exposed and released the hidden seeds during our threshing floor seasons, the rebirth of emergence within every womb of a woman by Sister Nike Fabemgbe of London Agape Prayer ministry!

And that awesome Gala evening …the KIB Foundation Launch and SHEroes Award night! ‘seeing teams of like minded people from all works of life, coming together to bring out the Abilities in all given diagnosis of Disabilities in children, especially in Africa!

Literally, could our lives be likened to those seeds, hanging on in (sacks) and refusing to undergo garnering? ‘What happens to us at the threshing floor? Self pity? Deliverance? Security allowance? Divine provision? the difficult discussions of life we dodge? And then, what happens after? When we allow the husk, the chaffs holding us back to loosen up and become renewed?

Can you relate to that? I do.

So, often during the times of our greatest challenges or need, we may find ourselves giving way to the stress and strain that comes with it by battling one another; forgetting who the real enemy is: 

Our Refusal. To undergo. The Basic Process of Threshing.

Visions are delayed, Harsh words spoken, friendships are broken; we choose sides and draw lines.

Feelings get hurt. Betrayal runs deep. Psychological sack cloths that are supposed to be spread out and trampled over like we are walking around the walls of Jericho to bring out the savviness in us, are still being hung up as emotional decorative mirror and admired like a lesser god in our hearts! 

It gets harder to forgive and keep moving forward. And sometimes we get stuck, right there in the broken mess of it all. 

We wobble on a spiritual tightrope, fearing the slightest misstep off the threshing floor will toss us back into the canyon of God’s disapproval.

Hmmm.

Today, as you are reading this, I pray we all come to understand the blessing and pass on the lessons learned from those challenges we encounter during the season we find ourselves on the threshing floor, to accept it as a mission for evolution, materialization and possibilities to be used by God. 

To see ourselves as those seeds or grains loosening up from the chaffs of impossibilities, out of the sacks of limitations and into a new season of our lives. Not necessarily as a punishment, but as re-birth!

*** A big salute to all Esther’s Preparation Room, Katherine Israel Bolarinwa Foundation (KIB) and Emergence Conference Planning team! 

As an organization, we are humbled by the mandate we have received from the Lord to raise a new generation of professional Christian women who will dominate and impact their sphere of influence for the Kingdom of God.

There is a cultural shift coming and EPR has been positioned to be on the cutting edge of this new movement. We are actively preparing to rollout our various global programs which will empower each woman to (i) raise her leadership lid, (ii) sharpen her skills, talents and gifts, and (iii) identify the niche audience/market she’s called to serve“.

Adenyke Israel-Bolarinwa 
Executive Director
Esther’s Preparation Room (EPR)
http://www.developmentalcarenetwork.org

Thank you EPR, Women who have experienced challenges, who are not afraid to cut through threshing sacks, willing to emerge, stem the tide of childhood mortality in Africa, Women created to improve the well-being of the African child, by giving them a chance to ultimately pursue a full life – beyond any dis-abilities, any diagnosis or any discouragement!

Thanking God for an awe-inspiring 2019, as I embrace and welcome everyone to year 2020, A new year of ‘Boldness in Moving Forward”

Yours in HOPE,

OlaYinka Gansallo-Lawrence

DCN Founder.

As I share…’Lauren Daigle’s Rescue from Grey’s Anatomy!

 

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Living in a Tabloid-Infested World (Marriages and Relationships)

new 5Until you have experienced monsters, mayhem and mind-blowing-murdering-brawl in your marriage, every talk about “happily-ever-after” is just a joke!

But things could get better or worse, Right?

Even if you are celebrating recovery from overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits from a sour relationship’ every life coach or love expert might as well go-jump-into-the-lagoon-with their “pocket-sized-advice” #Talk-To-The-Hands! (eyes rolling in utter disgust!)

Or when you hear of another marital discord or relationship break up in the news or through your favorite social media news feed, do you panic in forbidden excitement of what could have happened?

Do you crave for more juicy and gory details of how it finally collapsed? ‘Especially when there’ve been so much signs and tales of the doom day in the making?

love me 1Do you get jaw-dropped-drooling when you see those fantastically orchestrated display of fake and formed affection between lovers on social media and get frustrated at their outward display of fronting or intimidated that your own lover isn’t calling you boo or bae or one of those petty silly names and not a show-off superlative lover or romantic like theirs? #InstagramShowOff   #FacebookFakePerception

Aww!! Don’t get mad. Be glad you’re not part of that staged game!

Could someone please remind me that courtship is the fantasy land we lavish on soulfully, blindly and recklessly while marriage is the real thing-lifetime do or die institution? Everyone is admitted based on their initial feelings, initial agenda or initial determination, not fully aware of the consequences and sacrifices to be made. You either pass, fail, repeat or retreat! The choice is yours! Let’s keep it real, marriage is a tough institution! Period!

Seems like we forget in a hurry that every real marriage or relationship has its own appointed season of doomed-roller-coaster turbulence and sometimes requires plenty of space and measurable pace to heal and grow? Even the best marriage counselor text-book coping strategy just won’t cut it? ‘Am talking about the “Oh, no you didn’t”, “That’s It, I can’t take this anymore! Am out of it” moments.  Phew!

love 2mEvery married-couple I know play their amateur scripted part at one point or the other during their life time together. No denial or finger-pointing here. Most of the time either to prove a point to the world…like “Trust me, I got this covered! “Hey, look at us, we are still happily in love or just managing whatever is left! Any witness? Lol!

Okay…Nice… I think we all like that we can wear a mask every now and then to fool the world! But for how long can we pretend and hide behind the facade? Living in oblivion, but behind closed doors facing the reality? Pretending that everything in our marriage is purrfect!! When, it isn’t? Allowing social media to help boost our hidden insecurities and keeping up appearances? Who are we trying to fool? #shoo!

You see; a typical sophisticated glamorous churchgoer looks on with disdain as the winsome “I-love-Jesus” bracelet worshipper next to her raises her hands and sings with reckless abandonment. But secretly, in her heart of hearts, I wonder if she longs for that same marital/relationship freedom? What if she muses before commonsense pushes the wonderings aside? Especially when she’s been played on emotionally or physically? And what’s the church doing about her state of mind? Knowingly and unknowingly?

One of the lessons I learned from my parents, who by the way are still married andlove me 2 together 53 years and counting after several decades of hilarious family drama was T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E!

I’ve had to ask my mother..

How do you do it, this woman? ‘Why are you still married, eh? Aha, me I can’t take such nonsense oh! (I would boast in my immature voice of a young adventurer with a deep sigh of disgust!)

“Ah, it gets better” (my mom would respond with a smile, one that reveals a survivor’s un-told story like one of Terry McMillian’s characters).

What Exactly? I would ask with a cynical look. The pattern of sex? Adaptation or Tolerance? Fatal attraction or physical distraction? Which one precisely? Or its okay to be bombarded by fly-by knights? Dis-tasteful attackers?

new 2Of all the hardest lessons I learned in my own marriage was struggling with accepting the fact that…’I can’t fully change my husband! whatever the illusions I’ve created of “the perfect man” was just a fantasy. #AintNoKnightInShinningArmour

I had to learn that only God can touch his heart and change him, in His time, for His purpose, only. No matter how much we get to wish for a little bit of this or a little bit of that in that partner…we still have what we have, the issue at hand is..’. Learning to let it work out for our good while we strive to be all we can for ourselves…living life with a purpose to fulfil destiny by being valuable to self, as the transformation emerges. And leaving the rest to God.  #DiscoverPassionInSelfWorth

No feminist value here, just common sense survival kit from my 23 years of knowing Kevin, my husband. We’d learned to invest in ourselves-together, pursuing our passion together and not consumed by all the faults and flaws from our past, learning to detach from the triggers of the demons along the way…

new 3So, here I am this month celebrating my 19th-year wedding anniversary and content with my life. Oh-My-Word!! It hasn’t been a smooth sailing 19 years of our married-lives together, but an eye-opening, challenging and educative 23 years of unconditional friendship! And we are still learning and growing and dealing with the hurdles together which makes us appreciate our differences.

Years of waiting for conception and several miscarriages and frequent hospital admission and cries of babies and diagnosis and surgery and build up tension and family impact and losses and gains! has made me more appreciative of all the things our past has taught us! Good or bad…at the end of the drama that comes, we are still together!

Today, if you are reading this and either Married, Single, Divorced, Separated or just confused about being alone or with someone, especially with how cruel and intimidating social media has portrayed perfect-picture-marriages that wake up in glamour and go to bed in dirt and depression, flashing make-belief images of their lives together, only for the tabloid to pick up their bitter crumbs….The world is watching!

Let’s ask ourselves, is there a smile on our face that stirs others to want to join in and experience those moments of sudden glory or grief? Is there a scowl on our brows that make others turn away because the “mandated religious life” of keeping up appearance is too hard? Too boring? Too restricted? Do our hidden scars of inadequacy, insecurity and overbearing feelings in our marriages still keep us rooted behind that door? Are you a “prized trophy” in your relationship or is your marriage a staged one?new 1

Today, it’s not about counting wrong doings, hurts, dwelling on missed opportunities of what could have, should have or would have been or even how many times extra marital-cum-extra-curriculum-activities have played their parts in our lives, and how we’ve allowed it.

For me, it’s more of the lessons I am able to take away from it, understanding why and how ‘Big Hurts Have Opened the Door to freedom…

Doors which a lot of married people today are so afraid of going through, so afraid of approaching it. Either to save face, fulfil family/personal obligation, they hang inside, suffer inside, survive inside, pretend inside, and develop multiple personalities, all because of deprivation of self-worth behind that door.

But for how long?

I am hoping someone reading this will dig deep into their main purpose of the union and discover each other, for each other without limits!  I am still here because I believe I am God’s work in progress. What about you? #Goals   #DealWithIt

Issues of Undeveloped Emotions, Unresolved Conflict and Unmet Needs will need to be dealt with and forgotten before bruised hearts and damaged egos become cold hearts, and after a while with no help, turns into hardened hearts that wander in lonesome misery and commitment trap, the new title for the 20th century marriage and a sex crazed culture we live in. Discover what lights up your Fire, either in your marriage or relationship or discover your self worth and light it up! #JustBelieve  #NotImpossible!

PS: I’m wishing a Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary today, to the most amazing and genuine couple ever! (You know who you are, Love you much Y & M!). 

Yours in HOPE as I share Pink’s “Just Like Fire”.

Yinka.

 

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Echoes of 2015: “Keep On Moving, Don’t Stop”

In one word, how would you describe your encounter with the year 2015?

Beyond any doubt, this is certainly my year of “Go, Get it done now”.  Even as am writing this, my head is thrown back in an exaggerated falling motion, hands and eye lashes flapping joyously with a deep amorous laughter (like an excited toddler) While at the back of my head, I envisioned my favorite Trinidadian musician (Mighty Sparrow) playing my favorite soca version of ‘Dancing Queen” as I grooved to the rhythm and yell out…Yes!!

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American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk  Team: Greater Than Cancer. OCTOBER 2015

Are you wondering “what planet is she on exactly, with all these gestures of excitement? Eh, common, ‘it’s not even close to what you’re thinking, honestly… (Lol) “so-get-your-crummy-mind-out-of-the refrigerator and listen to what I’ve got to say! (smiles).

Wow! My heart is completely paraded with these un-explainable kind of feeling you get when you just finished scooping up your last spoon of ice cream, its still melting on your tongue, but because you just don’t want to quickly loose that sugar rush sensation, you drag the dissolving process. You smile as you close your eyes, allowing the powerful luscious sensation to play hide and seek in your mouth. Hmmm.

You mutter to yourself, ‘Wholly Guacamole!! ‘This is s-w-e-e-t! You are licking the escaped creamy patch with your tongue and just hoping everyday would be an-ice-cream day, Yeah, it feels good right? Exactly! That’s the cloud I am on.

So, I bet everyone DID something spectacular and different this 2015? Something crazy but excitingly abstract? Something out of the norm, yet breathtakingly unique? Something unusual but rewarding? Believe me, every one of us DID something peculiar compared to 2014. Whether Commendable, Confusing or Complicated. Something did happened that has shifted our mindset! It’s called the Go, Get it done dictum!

twc front

RCCG LSMC Total Woman Conference – April 2015

For me, I couldn’t have ended 2015 well without thanking God for all the beautiful spaces and platform of opportunities that were created for me! From the initiation and launching of the NGOs to the acceptance into doctoral school!

The powerful ministration at the Total Woman Conference, my wonderful superb sisters-united power team! The eye opener at the much awaited residency program in AZ! The long summer nights at the beach with family! The crab feast at the Inner harbor, the once in a lifetime impact and blessings received from Kenya during the QEG Summit!

sat summ moth pray

Queen Esther Generation Summit in Kenya. JUNE- JULY 2015

The joy of embracing new dreams and walking away from past distractions, standing tall to establish self in career! The “shut-the-front-door” kind of feelings you get when you decide to stand tall, no matter what! The mind-blowing and oh-so-humble experience of connecting with relevant links  in Nigeria, the magnitude of the support system.

OMG! My beautiful team members in Lagos still expanding, making headlines and treading on a just cause for humanity! PRICELESS.  Oh! What a night! @ Etim Inyang Crescent, V/Island with WAZOBIA Naija FM Spectacular midnight host of Love Clinic, Kbabalovedoctor. Awesome!

wa 6

WAZOBIA FM Lagos, Love Clinic Host, KBABALOVEDOCTOR. OCT 2015

 

60min tv

“My Life after Cancer” Interview with 60 Minutes TV, Lagos. Oct 2015.

Aha! The courageous families in whose

trek interview

Autism Awareness In Nigeria – Interview with TREK MAG. in Lagos. Sept 2015

presence, participation and position completed my GO GET IT DONE project in Nigeria. My first humanitarian award team, Thank you! For every support system unintentionally not mentioned. Thank you.Literally, this is for everyone who’s touched my heart in 2015, either paraded it, nursed it, comforted it, cared for it, scribbled on it or skipped it or even attempted to torture it! Thank you.

 

My Greater Than Cancer team in the US! Thank you for your support and your genuine love, for dragging yourselves out to walk with me that very cold Saturday morning in Oct! You guys rock and made a survivor feel so special to be alive. Love you all for real!

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Team: Greater Than Cancer, USA

I am grateful for new friendships defined, old ones restored and damaging ones put aside for remission. For all the projects left hanging but never forgotten, the best is yet to come.

Finally, let’s search our conscience in the remaining hours, ‘what walk awayhas 2015 done for you, lately? What is that beautiful memory you want to frame and adorn with praises? Or what’s that situation that looks like progress in the making but really behind closed doors, brings you to tears? What’s that addiction or craving you are still abhorring? What’s that one word you’ve been dreading to say? ‘Afraid of going into 2016? What’s that one brutal feeling of rejection, emptiness, hopelessness and depression you’d rather bury with 2015? Marital issues? Complicated relationships? Estranged Family members? Mr. Right still hiding? Health problems? Kids acting up? Conception not cooperating? Loved ones departure? ‘Got baggage? Got issues? ‘Got trust problem? ‘Got heart break? ‘Got love to give? Aha! ‘Got Christ? You do? ‘Then you already ‘Got this! 🙂

This is the best time to get up and get it done. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from your aspiration, ‘deal with it now. This is not even about making resolutions. This is more of a period of revelation.

I am hoping someone reading this will tap into that realm too. Set up inward realistic goals, and let your passion for success be your drive for the New Year. ‘Cos, that’s what am doing. Thank y’all for a rewarding 2015!  See you in a ‘Doing IT RIGHT 2016! by God’s grace.

Yours in HOPE as I share “Keep On Moving” by Soul II Soul.

Yinka.

 

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