NEW WALK BY FAITH

We used to pray together, the aim was an hour every single day and it was beautiful. With time, we found ourselves ( a group of 5 – 6 friends) in different countries, different time zones and with varying schedules, it became hard to get together to pray as we used to. At first, I was very unhappy with that decision, because I knew the difference that this time with God made in my life.

But now I understand that it was all God’s plan. He knew I had to grow in faith independently and fly by my own wings. He wanted me to take my faith with my own hands and serve Him.  I was depending too much on those prayer sessions and forgot that I also needed some personal time with God. It got to a point where the only time I would pray was when we would gather together. As a group, we stopped praying together around October 2016.

From that time, October 2016 to probably now, I went through so much. Challenges upon challenges, trials upon trials. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing seemed to work out for me. I felt lost, abandoned, lonely, defeated and weak. I cried myself to sleep almost every single night, I wished myself dead, I was tired. Found myself drinking so much that I even passed out once and blacked out. I blasphemed, yes I did. My favourite sentence to my mum who always told me, confide in God, pray, He will make a way for you, and so much more …. was “Leave God where He is”. The reason I said that was because I was angry at God. I wondered why He would let me go through all what I went through without shaking an inch to end my sadness. Another phrase I would constantly say was “Where is God when all this is happening”. I genuinely felt anger towards Him for allowing me to go through what I was going through.

To a point that I found myself asking constantly, “why me, why not somebody else”. I felt as though everyone’s life around me was moving forward and I was stocked in  my pain. It went on from that point all the way to December 2017. I only saw the bad things that had happened and made sure I blamed God for those. I completely forgot to appreciate the good things God had done for me, all the blessings He had showered upon me, I forgot to thank Him. At that point, I felt like God should only be thanked for big achievements. In fact, I was so blinded by this thought of achieving great things that even when greatness was happening, it felt small in my eyes.

An example was my undergraduate graduation during summer of 2017! I never said thank you Lord. I never gave appreciation for Him seeing me through to the end of my degree. So many people drop out, so many are withdrawn from their programmes of study because they fail to meet progression credit requirements, so many do not even get to go to University. But I was ungrateful; I was at the time blaming God for not making it possible for me to gain admission into my dream school for graduate studies. I forgot to even thank God for making it possible for me to pursue my education, for keeping me save (yes, because some people die along the way). I was blinded.

From July to September 2017 and even till December 2017, a tsunami displaced my family dynamics. The anger and pain from October 2016 was not resolved and I was already dealing with yet, another upheaval. Personally, was not surprised by my family’s dilemma as for some reasons, my instincts and guts had always created a possibility for those to happen. It was traumatic, heart breaking and mental. I was not just angry about God, but angry at the situation as well and started building some sort of hatred in my heart. Every fruit in my mind were opposite to the fruits of the spirit of the Lord which include love, joy, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The betrayal, the pain, the emotional and psychological pain I suffered made me feel unloved, and unhappy. I couldn’t see God’s faithfulness at that point in time. I had very insignificant faith because I felt betrayed by the faithfulness of God. I became a loner, I spoke little and kept my emotions to myself and built even more hatred. The major result of all these made me loose self-control. It was getting out of hand but at least I was busy; busy with school. One thing about me is that I am very ambitious and determined. Once I start something, I must finish it and I always have high goals. I turned my pain and anger and hurt in my studies.

Dear library, studying and revising were my time. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened if any idleness.

December 2017 was the worst month in my whole existence. I had never felt hurt the way I did. The sadness I felt was unexplainable and I remember, I stopped praying and believing in God. Even when my siblings or mum would say, let’s pray about things, I would laugh boldly. It was a way of telling them that praying would not change anything. Because of all what I had gone through, I felt like if God wanted to act on our (my) behalf, He would have done so already. I just lived and began to think that God was just a myth. A myth human beings needed to believe in to justify things they couldn’t explain. In my mind at the time, I would think that it was luck and coincidence.

One thing that fed my believe was the fact that I knew unbelievers who were doing well without God. I knew people who did not believe in the existence of God but were high achievers. At University they were among the best, they were finding jobs, they seemed happy and bothered by nothing. I did not envy them but it made me question the point of God in my life. I asked myself what God’s purpose in my life was if at the end of the day,  I was still unhappy, and unaccomplished. I would interview with companies and not get it. I would reach final stages in recruitment processes and still would get rejection. I would invest my time in an application and still not get passed initial screening. What was the point then, I asked myself; for God to be in my life if He couldn’t make it possible for just a single thing to happen. That was my state of mind.

Something I have to clarify is that after this December 2017 period, I was now at that stage where I will pray for praying sake. My faith was very little and during the bad days, I will plunge again and blame God. In January 2017, I fell ill. I suffered from a recurrent illness which never seemed to go away completely. I had more than four emergency surgeries. It troubled my studies because I was in and out of the hospital, I will miss my lectures and tutorials, yet I was determined to do well. If anything, in my family, we are fighters. I am a fighter and I did not let sickness get in my way of achieving my goals.

Things began to unfold around March 2018. I started getting call backs from companies for interviews, assessment centres and all that and eventually, secured an offer with a big multinational. Finally something good thing had come my way. I was happy. I decided I would travel in April which I did. I did so well in my May exams. I was finally smiling but it was short. For some reasons beyond my control, I was told in August 2018 that the company for which I had an offer could not sponsor my work permit (Visas and permits for international students in the UK). That was a knife in my chest. That was really when I began to think that “my village people had gotten at me”.

In my culture, there is this believe that “someone can tie your destiny:. That is how I felt. In all honesty, I felt like someone was responsible for this “downfall”. How do you explain having a job offer with a signed contract and not having it anymore. I cannot count the number of whys that came out of my mouth. It was difficult. I would normally never believe in such but when this happened, I was just like “please God, who did I offend”. Must a child of God suffer in this way! Must a child of God go through this much sorrow! But like I said, I never ever give up. That’s not in my vocabulary. I continued to apply.

For a month I asked for this: “Lord just a sign”. Just show me something or make something happen that would make me believe that all I am facing, this adversity is temporary and you are preparing me for a miracle. Some days,  said “I am tired”, God please. I have been asking since August for a sign., a touch from God. I asked to see his face, that he should reveal himself to me. I often said that “God my mouth is heavy at this point to speak out on how my heart feels”. I will be listening to this song titled “For Your Glory” from Tasha Cobbs and asked for favour for almost 2 months.

It had been going on and on until my twin sister last week suggested this website that she has been following which has been really helpful for her in building faith. Other friends from that chat confirmed that they follow this site as well and without any hesitation, I decided to go on there. I looked at the lay out and in that moment was convinced I too will be touched by the messages on there. Before that, my Youtube suggestions led me to the testimony of this lady which I followed attentively and was blessed by it. I watched a couple more of her videos and I felt that the spirit of God had led me into finding her channel so that I will be blessed. The spirit of God led me to another video which I had once watched some years back about this lady who almost sold her soul to the devil and was giving a testimony about it.

Before that even happened, a couple of weeks earlier, when i found myself complaining to a friend with whom I was staying with, I had told her “my life is a mess right now” and immediately suggested I should watch a movie titled The Shack and in that movie, it showed the life of this man, who had experienced a tough childhood but was finally married and happy with his three kids. But everything changed the day he lost his last born on a vacation who was abducted then killed. But this movie shows the workings of God, Jesus and the holy spirit and shows how God is continuously working on our behalf but we cannot seem to see things happening physically because there is poisonous grass (weed) all around. When I watched this, I did not make the connection of how God was using my friend to speak to me in that moment but now I see it all.

Last night in my sleep, I felt tribulation. For some reasons, the images are still very blurry but here is the recollection of the events in my sleep. I believe two people came to our house (a house), a mother and her child in the face of a far cousin of mine who put to birth a year ago but I have never seen the child. The moment the entered, I felt bad energy. I have always been very instinctive in my household and rarely do my instincts fail me. I think its a gift that God has given to me as I am able to tell when someone has bad intentions, energy or just has negative motivations. I smell it from a distance and can tell immediately.

So in this dream, I felt the same way about this person that had come in and I think I tried to question why she had come, and what her mission was at our house. In my dream, I fell asleep as it was night time and at one point felt something wrapped around my neck and was strangling me. It was as if I had a neck scarf and it was slowly getting tight around my neck, making it impossible for me to breathe. I think my mum was sleeping next to me and I tried calling her and touching her to wake up but she was deep asleep. I was fighting and I couldn’t even see who was strangling me with the scarf. Then, I began to pray by intelligence and called upon the holy ghost. I prayed to God that nothing fashioned against me would prosper, I reminded God that He is above any principalities and powers. I told Him to save me, calling upon the precious blood of Jesus. I prayed and prayed and eventually, was set free.

Now, this whole thing made me wake up in the middle of the night and all I could think of was continue praying. I prayed again and again to God for deliverance, I prayed for protection in my sleep and more. I gave my life to Christ in that same moment and asked God to take me, and make me whole in Him again. I realised shortly after that God had finally shown his face to me through this dream and made me hear his voice this night and that was all what I had been asking for. I prayed for healing all over my body in all my tissues, I prayed that by the time I woke up, I would be healed, no more pain, no more fever, no headache, no nothing.

When I fell asleep again, I had a dream, a scene of my aunt telling me my twin sister had passed. Immediately, I rebuked it. I said away from me satan. I said woke and said I make this dream null in Jesus’s name and then I prayed again for protection for all my family members. It was not the first time I had ever dreamed of a family member passing away and as real as it had felt in the past, I had always prayed about it. But I declared it with faith, assurance, audacity and confidence reminding God his promises to be with us wherever we step our foots and had the firm conviction that He would do so. So in the morning, I was not panicked.

Now one thing which I forgot to mention was that from the testimony of the lady on Youtube the day before, the main thing which kept coming for me was forgiveness. She had explained in her testimony how she had been hurt by her own mother and that she had not been talking to her for years but when she gave her life to Jesus and was borne again, not only did she call but she asked for forgiveness too and told her mum she forgave her. It spoke to me because I was in the same position; I was too hurt to forgive, and not forgiving created barriers and chains for myself. I understood that I had to forgive and ask for forgiveness too.

This morning, as I woke up, I knew I was healed, from my physical, emotional and psychological wounds. I felt replenished and new again. I felt strength that I had not felt in so many years. The spirit immediately led me to watching a Sermon by Joyce Meyer and I was touched. The title of her sermon was “the pursuit of peace” and in that she expanded on peace with God, peace with ourselves and peace with our neighbours. How awesome was this. For me to have felt anger all this while at God and here I was listening to a sermon about making peace with God. Needless to mention the peace I needed with myself because of the hatred not forgiving had placed in me and what more, peace with our neighbours which reminds me of the sadness I mentioned earlier when referring to the “tsunami” in my family. I needed this to break the chains and free myself from the bondages I had possibly contributed to.

Then in this same spirit, I listened to a talk from the site my twin sister had suggested a couple of days ago and it was about a woman from the book of Judges called ASCA, which refers to her as a conqueror. They spoke about the impact of our words, our heart and our spirit. In this talk, I understood that I had to come to God and ask with a spirit that I have conquered already, I can ask God the impossible because He is an extraordinary God. They explained how Josiah asked God for sunlight and God did give him. What about Peter, who asked to walk on water. In Luc 11, God reminds us that He has out audacity in us, we should not think of ourselves as any less, not worthy to ask directly and the audacity of Asca as go-getters! I understand that there is no excuse I need to have to claim what is rightly mine, God’s promises. We have that capacity to reclaim those promises because spiritual authority is part of our heritage in Christ Jesus.

They mentioned Jeremiah 29:11 during this talk – I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

And there I was seating again in my bedroom with all of these and I begin to get filled by the spirit and the word. All what they were saying this morning was addressing me and my circumstances directly. Now I know for certain without any doubt that the Lord is my shepherd and I will lack nothing. He will give me blessings like a tree planted by the river side whose leaves are always green and the roots never dry up. I will remain attached to God with no more conditions. No more of ” God if you give me this, I will do that ….). Now I know that God does not place anything bad on us and that, it is simply the work of the devil who is only here to steal and kill and destroy and we need to have faith and be strong spiritually to pray and cast out any form of attack of his.

Anything bound in heaven shall be bound on earth and anything that the Lord has touched will bear fruits . It’s a new journey but I am thankful that I am all in. I am thankful that I know that I can claim my heritage from God and that his plans for me are for prosperity and bring about future hope. I know that it would not be easy, I know that this journey would be challenging but I also know the spirit in me now. I want to be a wise woman who builds and is not lazy. God has delivered me from the bondages I used to be in and now I know that I will never return to a point of no landmark.

God bless,

Laurianne  Ndzana.

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BEHOLD THE DREAMERS -By Imbolo Mbue: REVIEW

Two weeks ago, I finally got myself a copy of the book Behold the Dreamers by the Cameroonian Imbolo Mbue.

I was so excited about it as I have been interested in African-American literature since Chimamanda Ngozie’s Americanah. I find myself relating more to African writers and philanthropists although I also very much love Wall Street novels or French literature.

In my most recent reads, in addition to this book, I read an article from Edgar Grande with title – European Identity: A Dangerous Obsession. I also read another article from Granovetta (1973) (quite old but only found it recently) about the Strength of Weak Ties. I will definitely recommend it those interested in the debate around current EU political crisis and analysis of social networks respectively (Find the links attached below).

Strength of Weak Ties by Granovetta

European Identity: a dangerous obsession by Edgar Grande

Coming back to Behold the Dreamers!

I literally lack words. This was mind-blowing and before I start, I need to congratulate her on this book. This is the first time I read such from a Cameroonian writer. I’m so proud of it.


Let’s have a little recap on the story line.

The book is about a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, Jende Jonga, who has come to the United States in search of a better life for himself, his wife, Neni and their six-year old son. Around fall of 2007, he luckily and unbelievably gets a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark makes high demands of his chauffeur including punctuality, discretion and loyalty. Clark’s wife, Cindy, later on offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. These opportunities make Jende and Neni gain a foothold in America and have hopes of a brighter future.

However, things do not go as they had wished. Jende and Neni soon discover cracks in their employers’ facades. Things worsen with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers alongside the financial crisis and Jende looses his job. The Jongas marriage threatens to fall apart and they are forced to make an impossible choice.

The novel perhaps highlights the naivety of the immigrant’s dreams given the harsh reality of the world. The author touches on the issues of race, culture, violence, pain, and the impact of male decision-making on women. The writing is beautiful and quite authentic picture of an immigrant experience. The characters of Jende and Neni are complex and captured my interest easily. I loved the portrayal of their home country Cameroon and their connections with it. I could relate with the slang and songs and areas mentioned in the book.

For the most part, the book was quite understandable. I loved the way I could depict the financial crisis through a non-academic angle. It really shows what is known in simple terms as ‘the gap between the rich and the poor’. At one end of the spectrum, we have the Jongas, Cameroonian immigrants desperately in search of a green card and on the other end, the Edwards family, wealthy upper-class New Yorker.

The story once more brought to my attention the fragility of the American Dream which saddened me a little.

Sometimes I wanted a bit more from it – perhaps a continuation.
For my readers,
19’s Observation.

 

BACK TO READING 

Today marks the first time in a long time, a very long time that i get back to reading.  September 7th, and finished reading a book.

I just completed ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda A. Ngozie.

 Completing it almost seemed impossible for me.

I remember the last time i read (i mean reading a proper book; novel, poetry, literature, fiction hand book not an electronic copy as we mostly see now) was back in my highschool days. And now i am back to ‘the books’. Usually i will read for at most two days and complete but this time, it took me two weeks. Exactly two weeks.

I nearly gave up but because it was an objective which i had made a priority, i told myself  “there’s no way you are not finishing this book”. It feels like a self accomplishment; I have proven to myself capable of reading again.

I would not say what took me so long to finish was that the book was boring or that the literature involved was quite complex, rather, it was my level of vocabulary that sucked. I just was not used to the words probably because i did not read that much anymore and was contented by the homogeneity of my vocabulary in University essays. I took longer because I heckled up the meaning of difficult words in a dictionary. It personally surprised me to see how degraded my level was. Me who thought i knew enough, me who thought reading was meant for those with English problems, me who thought my grammar or vocabulary needed no touch as i had studied in English all my life.  And there i was unable to define words, reading slowly because i took more time in making sense out of sentences. May be it was all laziness. Or perhaps i was just a partisan of minimal efforts.

It is so shocking how many people fall in this array. Thinking that they already know and don’t need to know more. Well, I thought as most of them and i was wrong. I need to constantly enhance my vocabulary. Reading is a big key to that. Now that i am through with this first book, i can’t wait to start that other ones. Very funny, i have books, i have always had them, in my drawers and shelves. I loved going to bookshops and buy them but when it came to  reading, i never really opened them. Its only now i realise i was making a fool of myself, pretending all this while to be a big intellectual by accumulating books meanwhile they had never been opened. its never too late to start reading again my lovely…

If you are wondering why you should border yourself reading, while you’ve studied or spoken that language all your life, then this post is for you. Nowadays, everything (almost) have electronic copies. You can read a book from your screen, browse over the internet and even download it. Basically what i mean is that you no longer have to buy a hard copy of a book and hold it in your hands to say you are reading. The main reason i will say should motivate you (me) to effectively read  is that reading gives a competitive advantage to succeed where others cannot and this applies to all endeavours. From the book i read, i already feel different. Completely stimulated intellectually (in vocabulary, style) and even vision. ‘You can’t read and remain unchanged’ is what i will say to anyone that begins to read. In reading, you get valuable lessons.

Take reading as though you were putting time to get a knowledge advantage.  Despite this years not reading, i have always had an affinity for it because i love it and i understand that it is an accreditation to success. This journey, should i say new beginning as a reader, regardless of my endeavours, upbringing, current situation or even the path i have decided or wish to take in life, reading is key to upward mobility.

As Malcom X  said as cited by Gary W. (2014) in his study of successful people, ‘Reading may not guarantee success, but it surely increases the chances of it’ which i totally agree to and believe is true. Fortunately, the amount of time we spend reading is entirely up to us and within our control, yet, i choose to seize every bit of it.

19’s Observation.