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Posted in About

About

Hi,

My name is Hawanatu Dumbuya

I am a young woman who used to go through life without any hope, depressed, angry, aggressive, anxious, … I could go on for a while. I lived my life on an automatic pilot day in and day out. While being abused verbally, mentally, physically …, in the comfort of my own home (or at least that’s what it was supposed to be. A home). A young bright, lively and kind girl ends up living (or should I say exciting) just like that day in and day out.

This is the awful truth about my life before Christ found me and breathed life into me again. He gave me my joy back, thaught me true love, I found a peace that I cannot fantom, thaught me who I am and showed me what I am worth. I, who used to live such an empty life, now my cup runs over! And that’s exactly the reason why I’ve started this blog. I know how many more people are still struggling with the same things that I have gone through and now I’ve been set free from all those bondages, and am currently still being set free from some, I want nothing else but to share my journey with others. I hope to inspire non-Christians to take some kind of interest in the Christian faith because, as a living testimony I tell you that Jesus Christ is the savior the world needs. I also hope to inspire those who already are Christians to take the next step in their Christian lifestyle.
Just so to be clear am not a perfect Christian, I don’t have everything in order, I still have my ups and downs as I am trying to fulfill my God-given purpose, I have tons of questions and doubts, but all I know is that I don’t want to live a second without Jesus Christ. Life is simply not worth living without Him.


So, Welcome into my deepest thoughts and let’s get this journey started!

Posted in Other

Travel: Venice, Italy

Christmas 2019, my fiancé and I spend this beautiful time with his family in Italy. But not without taking a small detour to Venice. The last time I visited Italy, I only stayed in Rome. Venice was breathtaking! I love water, vintage, and history, this place was the perfect embodiment of these things. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Some of those pictures came out pretty nice, which is the reason I wanted to share them with you.

A fun fact about Venice is that it’s completely built on water. Y’all I can’t swim so, the idea that I loved staying on a floating island is hilarious to me.

Thanks to getyourguide.com, we were able to book some amazing activities, one of my favorite was a boat tour, that stopped at 3 different islands. I really enjoyed this. I believe we missed the first one we were scheduled for because we were having quite a hard time getting around with google maps. But they were kind enough to let us get on the next one.

One of the things that was very interesting was the fact that every morning, the streets would be filled with water. I don’t know if this is normal in Venice, or that it was just a seasonal thing, but I must say that it looked like none of them could be bothered by the fact that their streets were filled with water! They continued their everyday duties like every other day. The day we had to check out, we couldn’t check out at the time we were meant to, because the hotel floors were all underwater. But they just worked through it and around 13 o’clock all the water was gone. I was very impressed with how capable and adaptable we are as human beings.

After spending some days with the family, we took another day to be with just the two of us. We stayed at hotel Calvi in Vittorio Veneto. We had a room that looked out on a garden, with a pool and a river opposite the garden. It was amazing.

We went to Vittorio Veneto because we wanted to visit ‘Grotte del Caglieron’. This place was huge! Filled with waterfalls, greens, hills, and mountains. We both love to be in nature, this place was perfect for us. Though I must say that my legs weren’t very happy the day after.

The one thing I found difficult to deal with in Italy, was the fact that restaurants, as well as snack bars, only opened in the evenings. We didn’t know this, and didn’t consider it. So, we had to practice patience here and there. I won’t lie, I got quite irritated sometimes. Am not a good person when am hunger y’all. But besides that, we had a great time in Italy.

Have you been to Italy? Or do you have a country you absolutely loved traveling to?

Posted in Life Lessons

Rejected Love

The physical life of Adam and Eve does not stop in the instant they taste the fruit: this isn’t the poison apple of the fairy tale. But something in them and between them does die. Their sense of themselves and their relationship with each other is shatterd. And (what is even far worse) their relationship with the Lord God is also broken: they hide from Him in fear and shame.

Book: The Drama of Scripture

We were created to have an intimate relationship with God and committed relationships with one and another. But all of that was shattered and broken after sin entered the world. So, now we are left with the broken pieces of what used to be whole and perfect.

Relationships don’t have the same meaning today as it did when it was created. The reason for that is that ‘love’ which is the foundation of every relationship, broke with everything else when sin entered the world. Let me explain.

Worldly love

The world today portraits love as a feeling, it connects love with emotions. The problem with that is that our feelings and emotions are forever changing depending on the circumstances of our lives. That would mean that we can change/leave any relationship in which our feelings have changed. Deep down, we all long for a deep and meaningful relationship, a connection that is like no other, which makes us feel known. But, wouldn’t this kind of love leave us in an everlasting chase of a fulfilling relationship? and wouldn’t that leave us empty until we can make that connection? (recommendation on this topic is the book: “the right fight” by John Kennedy Vaughan).

I have had friendships and a romantic relationship, my love for those I had a relationship with at the time suffered under this definition of love without me even realizing it. I only realized how wrong my old ways where after I came to know the true definition of love.

Biblical love

The Bible teaches us that love is: 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

A example of a worldly relationship and a Godly relationship in my life:

Worldly example:

I had a friend who I met at the age of 11. Her father was friends with my father, therefore her mother became good friends with my mother, her little brother became friends with my little brother and we also became very good friends. We didn’t have a lot in common, but as kids, you don’t look at those things. It was enough that our parents were friends. We stayed good friends even after I moved to a different country. We kept contact and visited each other now and then.

To fast forward a long story, along the way, selfishness, self-centeredness, un-met expectation grew, arguments, distrust brought by a boyfriend, pain, and hurt had been part of our relationship. Which is “normal” right? Every real relationship goes through these things, but it’s the way we deal with them that defines the relationship. We dealt with situations like everyone else. We would talk about some things, or not talk about them at all and just move on, or the one would ignore the other… and so on. We never took the time to think about the meaning of our friendship and took it for granted.

It’s important to know that during most of our friendship relationship I was a non-practicing ‘Muslim’ and she was a non-practicing Christian. It was only in the last 1-2 years of our relationship we both started persuing a serious Christian life. After 14 years of friendship, we both felt like we had fought the good fight to keep the relationship going. We ended up ending our friendship, and looking back on it, it ended because of pure self-centeredness.

Even though we felt like we fought for the relationship, it was only up to what we could accept from one and another. Everything about it was based on what we could give and get, and the moment we didn’t get what we believed the other should give/do, it all came to an end.

Godly examply

One day a young man came to my old church service on a Wednesday. Wednesday was the prayer meeting. The young man wanted to sit on a chair, but during our prayer meetings, we don’t use any chairs, to motivate people to get out of there comfort zone and be active during prayer.

Because He wasn’t allowed to use a chair, He ended up sitting on the ground, with his knees up to his chest and his arm folded around his knees, during the entire prayer meeting, staring into nothingness. I felt bad for him during the prayer and kept thinking of him, days or maybe weeks after that day. I couldn’t understand how someone could be in the presence of God and have no interest at all.

A long story short, I ended up contacting the young man and made it my mission to show him the glimpse of God’s love for him, through me. I soon found out that talking about God and his goodness, wasn’t going to get me anywhere with him, so I decided to love him for who he was and be his friend without any judgment, and without forcing God on him. 

It wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It took me a lot of patience to kindly and lovingly answer his questions. In many cases, he would already have set his mind on a certain answer, but he asked them anyway to see what I would say.

Also in that time, I was very focused on myself and my growth in Christ. But now, I had to make time to answer his messages and participate in activities with him, such as going to bookshops and getting some Christian books, watch a movie, go to restaurants, etc. I did enjoy doing these things together, but I had to make some sacrifices on time because now I couldn’t focus on myself as much.

In the end, we got very close. I saw him growing in his knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and Christians. His whole attitude towards God started to change. He started to go to church every Sunday, listened to online sermons, took notes on them, and actually read his bible. This was a young who had seen God’s people behave in ways that were no different than worldly people and for that reason said goodbye to everything concerning the church. I was blown away by this result in just 7 months.

There are 4 types of love:

  1. Storage = Family love
  2. Philia = Friendship love
  3. Eros = Romantic/sexual love
  4. Agape = Selfless love

As Christians, we are not called to a self-centered, non-committing, non-sacrificial love, but we are called to Agape love, a selfless love (as described in 1 Corinthians 13). The relationship I dealt with the worldly way, the “normal” way ended up hurting me and the other, while the relationship I dealt with the Godly way, wasn’t half as easy but ended up helping me in my growth and I also gained a life long friendship.

I don’t think there is such a thing as a broken relationship. I think it’s broken people. Relationships don’t break themselves. When we are in a relationship with one and another, our imperfections impact people other than ourselves. That’s the risk in relationships, it’s a blessing and a burden at the same time. The fact that you get all the good things about the other is a blessing, but you also get all the broken parts along with it.

Dharius Daniels

Healing from painful relationships

If you are anything like me, you probably have gone through some rough relationship, that has left you with fear and distrust towards the love of humanity. This past week, I have been wondering how we heal from this pain? Because it is something that we need healing from. A broken heart can’t love another broken heart. 

There is a book(searching for God knows what) I recently finished reading that was able to help me a little in my process of healing from painful relationships. The things I read weren’t new, but they definitely touched me differently.

“We are to give Christ everything, our false redemption in the things of the world, our false idea of who God is, all our trust in something other than God to redeem us. In doing so, we die to our broken natures in exchange for His perfect nature, and find a unification with Him that will allow God to see us as one, just as a husband is one with a wife.”

Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22: 37 – 38

When we get into a relationship with God, we don’t automatically love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. AND THAT IS OKAY! when I started desiring Christ as a Christian, I thought I had to get rid of all the things that might block me from loving and following Him. Which is the right thing to do, but I was never meant to do it by my strength alone. I was supposed to lay them down at the feet of the cross, at Jesus’s feet. 

The Spirit of God is who makes us Holy. It is Him who leads us into righteousness, not for our sake, but for the sake of God.

It is with this mindset that we are to engage in a relationship with one and another. Realizing our broken natures, but also being aware of God’s loving grace and goodness in our lives. Just like our relationship with God is a process, our relationship with each other is also a process. There are different stages of love, and that is okay. We should learn to embrace them. Because ultimately love is a commitment you make first and then follow with loving actions.

Jesus Christ came to redeem broken individuals, people, back to God, this is why His teachings are so important, it is why it’s so important to know God, and what He has to say to us through Jesus Christ. There are so many people today, claiming to not want anything to do with God because they feel like they already know enough about Him, by scooping Him over to the same side as his followers. But they forget, that even His followers are humans first. None of us is perfect, but all of us should try our best to make progress every day, and that’s enough for God. Make progress towards seeking Him, He will welcome you with a open arm because of the Salvation we have received through the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t die only for those who believe, but for the whole world. Will you receive His love and salvation today?

It is the love you give, that you receive

Posted in Testimonies

Testimony: “Growing up in a Christian family doesn’t make you a Christian”

Maybe the biggest obstacle for me was the fact that I was a Christian already. I had heard most of the Christian concepts and ideas for a long time. And they were not appealing to me at all.

Hi,

My name is Jan Witsel, I am a 27 years old from The Nederlands. I have been a Christian all my life, well honestly, it has only been 12 years. Let me explain.

I grew up in a devoted Christian family, and we were part of a very traditional Dutch reformed church. We went to church twice every Sunday. I went to a Christian school at the time, and all off my friends were Christians too. My parents read the reformed newspaper, we had no television, and we had special filtered internet to protect us from the bad stuff. A comparison with the Amish is a bit too much, but if you want to have an idea of how my world looked like I recommend you watch the (Dutch) movie ‘Dorsvloer Vol Confetti’.

Although I pretty much lived in a Christian bubble, it didn’t feel like I believed for myself. In my teenage years, I got into graffiti art, hip-hop, beatboxing, and the like. Although I never used drugs, for a short while my friend and I grew some marihuana in a local garden to sell at school. With that same friend, I used to thief from shops. Not because we needed it, but just for fun. I was pretty rebellious in that period, and I disagreed on a lot of things with my parents. I still went to church every Sunday, because deep down in my heart, I always kept believing that God was out there.

Traditionally the reformed churches preach a lot about sin and salvation. The church I went to focussed a lot on the sinfulness of humanity, because ‘if you do not feel like a sinner, why would you need forgiveness?’ they would argue. Although I believe it’s necessary to preach about the fall of humanity and the grace God, I think the focus on how bad people are and not nearly as much focus on grace, made me scared of God. How was I ever going to look him in the eyes when that time would come? I wasn’t sure about God’s love for me and didn’t dare to call myself His child.

I actually have a better understanding of my sins and shortcomings now, than I did in my early days, but I have also come to know God’s grace for me in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The thing that caught my attention, and helped me to decide to become a Christ-follower, is a combination of two things.
First, I started reading the Bible in a translation I understood. Before that, I always read a difficult, complicated translation because I thought (and was taught) that was somewhat superior to the other versions. Reading an easier translation helped me understand and apply God’s word to myself. The more I discovered, and the more I learned from reading the Bible, the greater my hunger became.

The second thing that happened, was around the same time. I got in touch with a few guys from my church that I usually did not hang out with. They were pretty open-minded and had the same sort of questions I had. I remember one specific time very well, we had lunch together and they started praying out loud, one after the other. When it got to me, I had no idea what to say. That experience made me think about myself a lot and I ended up praying because of that event. After some time I discovered that Christ had chosen me to be his disciple, and I gradually followed.

That decision changed my life quite a lot. I had to sweep through all my music and clean it up. I stopped trying to earn pride or status from the things I did. Also, I gradually disconnected from friends that had a negative influence on me. I tried to remember the shops I had stolen from and wrote them a letter to apologize, including a fourfold of the amount of money I think I took from them. I changed my career plans. Instead of graphic design (which is still great!), I started studying theology.

Jesus Christ is the only hope I have for this life and beyond. Sometimes I experience that hope more intensely than other times, but honestly, life without Christ is pointless to me. In Christ, I am assured of God’s grace every day, over and over again.

If I could say just one thing to anyone that is struggling to decide to follow Jesus Christ, or to someone who simply doesn’t believe in Jesus, but is open-minded about it, I would say, pick up a Bible and study it! The Bible is so mindblowing both in its composition and its message. You can Begin with Gospels(= good news) in the New Testament. They are easy to read and are about the life of Jesus. I truly believe that Jesus is good news for everybody in every possible circumstance. Check it out for yourself. There is nothing to lose.

Posted in Faith Foundation

The Gospel

Introduction
Today’s post is by a guest writer, Zeke Nelson.

One of the things that have helped me live-out my Christian faith is by reading the Bible (if you are having an issue with getting through the bible, I have a post on that as well). As I was reading the bible on an everyday basis, the story it contained about Jesus Christ, became more and more my own story. That might not make any sense at the moment, but it will later on.

I believe that understanding the gospel as a Christian, accepting, and embracing it, is what makes the difference in following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe it is the key to get past the issues that keep us from becoming devoted Christians, and the key for a none believer to find their way to Christ.

Today’s post is written by Zeke, because I believe that he can explain it much better than I can. The gospel is such a crucial thing in the Christian belief, that I didn’t want to mess it up. I have met a lot of believers who claim to be Christians without having any idea about what the gospel is. The danger of claiming to be a Christ-follower, without understanding the gospel, or without making an effort to understand the gospel is that we end up with a god who is more like a genie in the bottle.

My prayer is that you may read this with an open mind and receiving heart. The gospel is a story that has changed the lives of so many people around the world, and still does till today. And don’t be afraid to read it a couple of times, I had to read it more than once as well.

What is the Gospel?
The gospel is a story. The gospel is an announcement. The gospel is a person.

This is not the only way to explain and summarize the gospel, but it is a helpful place to start. I will explain each of the three points and show the significance of this good news to us as we go.

The gospel is a story
It is the story of the Bible, which is the story of Jesus. And it can become our story. The book of Acts tells about a time when a man named Philip was led by the Spirit of God to approach a man from Ethiopia traveling in a chariot. Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading from the prophet Isaiah. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” He was reading from Isaiah 53, a well-known passage about the “Suffering Servant.” We are told that “Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:26-40).

That particular passage of Scripture happens to speak quite clearly about Christ if it is explained, as the Ethiopian wished. The passage also happens to apply with particular power to this man. “Who can speak of his descendants?” the passage asks. This man, as a eunuch, would have no descendants himself. He heard Philip tell the story of Jesus and immediately asked to be baptized, making the story his own. The suffering servant with no descendants became the Eunuch’s Savior.

This passage was an especially good starting place for telling the good news about Jesus, but Philip could have started with any passage of Scripture because the Scripture tells a single, overarching story. The law, the prophets, the history, the poetry and prayers, all the individual lives, and individual stories exist within and makeup one sprawling story. Philip could have started telling “the good news about Jesus” from any passage in the Bible.

My local church during college was founded by a missionary. He returned once to preach. I don’t know if I have ever been so locked-into a sermon. “Wherever you cut the Bible,” he said, “it bleeds mission.” He meant that there is a unity in the Bible. It tells one story, the mission of God in the world. That is the story that Philip told the seeker from Ethiopia.

Our own lives take the shape of a story. We have an individual story, which takes place within the story of a family, the story of a nation, the story of the world. Our stories have a beginning, middle, and end. But imagine being put on the stage to perform a play, but no character and no script are assigned to you. We are left to discover our identity in this great drama. We have to improvise our lines. Here you are on the earth, but what is your part to play? What is your character? What are your lines? What is the plot?

Knowing the big story gives a place to our little stories. When we know the story of God, then we begin to understand the storyline of our lives. The effect is electrifying. First is that we are absolutely humbled. We are not the kings and queens we thought we were. In fact, we have lost the plot, missed our lines, pushed other characters off the stage. But the second part is this: God actually intended that we would-be kings and queens all along – we are meant to reign with him – and he has not given up on that purpose. We’ll come back to that after looking at the second piece of the gospel, which is an announcement.

The Gospel is an Announcement
Just before the section about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 is another well-known verse: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7). The passage envisions a messenger coming with an eagerly awaited announcement. As nations at war await news of victory, so the people of God awaited this announcement: “Your God reigns.” To put it slightly differently, the messenger announced: “God is king.” There are many human and spiritual entities aspiring for the highest throne. Thankfully, it will be denied them, because all of them would be dictators and tyrants. God alone is king.

The preaching and teaching of Jesus were focused on the kingdom of God. Many of his parables illustrated some aspect of God’s kingdom. He called his followers to seek the kingdom of God, to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. Every kingdom has its king. Isaiah stated that God is king. The followers of Jesus agreed, but they included Jesus in their monotheistic faith. The one God includes Jesus, who is the world’s true king.

On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came like fire upon those gathered. The apostle Peter explained the startling fact that everyone at the festival heard the wonders of God proclaimed in their native languages. It was the pouring out of God’s Spirit, he said. But Peter quickly moved on to explain the background and the significance of this poured-out Spirit. He focused on Jesus, who was crucified but raised from death. He concluded his sermon, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36).

Peter announces the good news: Jesus is Messiah and Lord. The apostle Paul agrees that Jesus is Lord. Messiah meant the anointed king, the savior. Lord meant king or emperor. Jesus is all of those. Kanye West got it right: Christ Is King.

What does this mean for us? In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul reminds his readers, “What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Notice that the announcement refers to the story of the Scriptures. And notice the implication for us: he died for our sins. Included in the announcement that Christ is king are the concepts of atonement, justification by faith, sanctification, being renewed in the image of God. And we cannot leave out the resurrection, which ensures our own sharing in the eternal life and love of God in a new creation.

By the way, this definition of the gospel as a story, announcement, and person excludes two common false gospels, which are not good news at all. The first says to follow the rules, which is legalism. The second says follow your heart, which is license. Both of these are destructive. I have seen people first try one, burn out, and try the other. Sometimes people bounce back and forth multiple times before coming to rest on the solid ground of the gospel announcement: the grace of God. Grace is deeper, more threatening, but far more thrillingly life-giving than follow the rules or follow your heart. Instead, follow Christ. He does expect our obedience, but he gives us the strength. He also reshapes our hearts to want the right things. Already I am trying to squeeze in too much. This is intended to be a summary of the gospel.

The way Jesus was revealed as king is worthy of wonder. Here we touchback on the fact the gospel is a story. The long story of the world is focused in the story of the people of Israel, who were expecting the Messiah to come and bring salvation, making things right in the world. When the Messiah did come, he surprised even his followers by stating that his mission was to suffer, die, and rise from the dead. By suffering and dying, Jesus shows that God is a God of love. The kingship of Jesus is characterized by love. In the depths of human weakness, Jesus reveals the power of God. He dies for our sins and death is defeated. This story, this history, becomes the announcement, “Jesus is Lord.” Those who believe in and follow Christ share in his victory, his life, his love. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” the apostle Paul wrote (Romans 8:1). No condemnation! What good news for a depressed, anxious, fearful world!

The announcement refers to the story, and the story leads to the announcement. So perhaps it would have been more accurate for me to say that the gospel is an announcement within a story. Or we could simply say that the gospel is a person, which implies both the story and the announcement.

The Gospel is a Person
A story, an announcement, and the included concepts like atonement and justification – they are wonderful news, but they can remain like printed words on a page – interesting information – if we don’t come to know the living person who embodies them. The longing of the apostle Paul was not to live his story better, to be his “best self,” as people say, or even to be justified. His desire was to “know Christ” (Philippians 3:10). That desire to know Jesus the Messiah naturally included gaining righteousness that came not from himself but from Christ, just as it also included the expectation of sharing in Christ’s resurrection. The point, though, is that Paul did not long for concepts, he longed for Christ himself. The good news is the person of Jesus himself. What Christians long for and look forward to is being with Christ.

As we began to see in the sections on story and announcement, God is Father, Son, and Spirit. The Father sent the Son, who gave his life for us, then poured out the Spirit from his exalted throne in heaven. The Bible tells us over and over that God loves the world. We are even told that God is love. This statement about the essence of God can be true because God exists as a Trinity. There is a relationship of love between the Father and Son. The Father is invisible and in some sense unknowable. The Son, who became a human being, reveals the Father to us.

God is king. What is this king like? God wrote himself into the story: the person of Jesus Christ entered the creation as a human being. Jesus shows us a God who loves with such an intensity that he is willing to suffer and die. Jesus shows us a God who conquers death and wins our hearts, our faith, our allegiance.

The gospel is Jesus Christ himself. Our longing and desire are for him. “Come Lord Jesus” are the concluding words of the Bible’s final book. Until the time when our longing is fulfilled and we see the king face to face, we have work to do. The gospel of Matthew concludes with Jesus saying, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.” He is king! In his authority Jesus sends out his apostles and his church, saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

For more from Zeke Nelson, you can go to www.explorationandcontemplation.com

Posted in Important updates

The Consistency Pressure

Don’t worry about conveying your feelings to everyone. In truth, they only need to reach one person. Even if that doesn’t work, as long as those feelings are genuin, you’ll have countless others who empathize with you.

Carole & Tuesday

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have noticed that two weeks before I started the 40 days Lent fast, I was struggling a lot a specific content I had created to post. I wrote on the topic: “Seeking Purpose” even when I finished it, I couldn’t bring myself to post it. Something felt unfinished about it.

When I started my quest to become a Christian blog writer, I did what every new content creator does. I searched for information and tips that could help me to create a great blog and good traffic.
One of the tips that kept coming up was the importance of consistency. Which is I believe one of the hardest things to do as a new content creator. We live in an “I got to have it now” kind of generation after all.

As I was following this tip, I decided that I would upload a new post once every week, but this soon came to be quite a difficult thing to do white the kind of content I am creating. And that was the problem I faced two weeks before lent.

As I was fasting, I also wanted to use that time to write some drafts so that, when the 40 days would be over, I would have some content already. But for some reason, I couldn’t do it. I felt pressured to create content so that, I could keep up with my weekly deadline. That’s when I noticed that the pressure was stealing away my joy of writing.

As time went by, I started realizing why I was having a hard time dealing with the pressure. I have always been a person who’s heart is set on quality above quantity. But with the one-week deadline to cache, my mind started to prioritize quantity above quality, but my heart was having a hard time accepting this switch.

Creating content takes a lot of time (I believe every content creator can relate to that). I write about my personal experience from before I was a Christian to the present day. Some of those experiences are very difficult to think about, let alone write about them on the internet. But I believe that there are a lot more people going through the things I went through or am going through at the moment, and I want to use those experiences to help others. Helping others this way is very important to me, so I take it very seriously.

As a Christian content creator, I place great value on quality, honesty, genuineness, and Godly truth, because that’s the only thing that can transform your life. Just sharing my experience and journey with you, can’t bring you that transformation. But to able to do that, I need more time. That’s why I have decided to take a minimal time of two weeks for a new post and a maximum time of one month. I am planning to do several series of posts on some very difficult, heartbreaking subjects, so I will definitely need the time. So, I ask that you please be patient with me.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭7:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

“What is lent?” + My first experience

Lent is a season of repentance and humility, a time where we are called to consider our human sin and frailty in light of the splendor and perfection of God our King.

The staff of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

In February my fiancé booked a trip to London for my birthday. We both love books, so he looked up some bookshops around where we were. One of the bookshops we went to was Church house bookshop. It was in this bookshop that we were introduced to LENT*. I had personally never heard of it.

He found a book on a specific shelf that read LENT, since we were in a Christian bookshop, and he didn’t know what this meant, he looked it up.

When we returned home, the idea of lent kept returning to me. So, we decided to join our brothers and sisters around the world during the lent period.

What is lent?
The lent period consists of 40 days. During these days Christians all over the world fast and pray. The reason it’s 40 days has to do with the 40 days that Christ fasted in the wilderness before he started His ministry. The fast can be on anything that takes a lot of our time. It can be social media, series, food, sweets, … anything at all. Fasting form something means, sacrificing something, to spend more time with God.
If you would like to know more about fasting, I have a post on that you can check out. https://thepurposedrivenjournal.com/2019/12/29/fasting/

As we dedicate ourselves to God during this time, we are called to gratitude by remembering all that God has done for us, like the people of God who recall and remember the day He majestically set them free from the yoke of the pharaoh of Egypt, whom they were in-slaved by for 400 years. We are called to pray, to seek Jesus and realize what he has done for us by dying on the cross. As we do this, we are called to repent from our ways as well.

After the 40 days, comes the Holy week, this is the week before Easter Sunday.

  • Palm Sunday: On this day we celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem days before the crucifixion. Mark 11: 1 – 10
  • Holy Wednesday: On this day we acknowledge the plan of Judas, who will betray Him to the religious leaders for some cash. Matthew 26: 14 – 16
  • Maundy Thursday: This is the day of Jesus’s last supper.
1 Corinthians 11: 23 - 27
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, 
on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, 
he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in 
remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, 
you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The celebration of the Passover is often seen as only for the Jews, but Jesus himself celebrated the Passover. We could obviously argue that it was because He was a Jew, right? But I honestly can’t understand this argument, we are called to be Christ like, to follow His ways, and if He thought it’s important to celebrate the Passover, so should we.

1 Corinthians 5: 7 - 8
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 
Therefore let us keep the Festival, 
not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness,
 but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The night before He died, Jesus gathered with His disciples to celebrate one last time the great Passover feast. As they ate, they remembered their nation’s physical deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Then Jesus called the group’s attention to an even greater spiritual deliverance that was about to happen. To help them (and us) remember this wonderful gift of salvation, Jesus instituted a new and different memorial meal of simple bread and wine. Called the Lord’s Supper, communion, or the Eucharist, the meal points to the Cross, the resurrection, and all God does for us. There we have the ultimate expression of God’s infinite mercy and love.

John Hagee
  • Good Friday: On this day we recall Jesus’s crucifixion. Matthew 27: 27 – 56
  • Easter Sunday: On this day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord! Matthew 28: 1 – 10

*Passover = The last of the ten plagues God punished the pharaoh with, was the death of the firstborns in all of Egypt in an attempt to let His people go. As the Angel of death would go through Egypt, the Israelites had to kill a lamb and post the blood of the lamb on their doors. In this way, they would be passed over and their firstborns wouldn’t be killed.

*Lent = The English word Lent is a shortened form of the Old English word lencten, meaning “spring season”, as its Dutch language cognate lente (Old Dutch lentin) still does today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent)

*Easter = The day the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated


My Experience

During this period, I read a book that thought me a lot that was significant for the lent period. The book: “The drama of Scripture: Finding our place in the Biblical story” by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen. It teaches a lot about the background, circumstances, and culture in the time of the biblical stories, which is a great asset to able to understand the Scriptures. I can’t say it enough, but knowing the scriptures is crucial for a Christian, and this book helps you have the right perspective on the passages.

I have never fasted for 40 days, and I must say that it was more of a roller coaster experience for me. The first week went pretty well. I spend a lot of time in scripture reading, doing devotionals on the youversion app, reading the book I just mentioned above, listening to sermons, and praying.

Somewhere between the second and third weeks, it started to get quite difficult. I wanted to stop many times. In the fourth week, I started finding excuses to compromise what I was sacrificing. Around the same period, I got ill for almost 2 weeks, which made it even harder.

I honestly can’t stress spending time with God enough when you fast.
If you don’t the whole experience gets a lot harder. It becomes about our strength in making it happen, and not so much about the Spirit working in us.

Even though it was a roller coaster experience, I am still very glad I participated in the lent fast because it’s a meaningful time in the lives of Christians around the world, and also because I was able to learn a lot:

  1. I learned a lot about God’s story through the book I devoted myself to during this period
  2. I was able to improve my prayer life by cultivating a new habit
  3. I learned a new way of studying scripture
  4. I was able to start doing an evening devotional which I’ve always wanted to do

If you would like me to speak more about any of the things I’ve learned, let me know. I wish you all a blessed Easter!

Posted in Life Lessons

Do you have identity issues?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalms 139: 13 – 16

Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever feel like you had to be someone else or act in a certain way to fit in with a group of people you liked? Have you ever felt like something is wrong with you because for some reason you rub people the wrong way? Not because you are a mean and bad person, but because you are different…?

I have been asked to leave homes because I was different, have lost friendships because I reason differently, have been called names because I analyze things differently. People have defined me as rude because I like to get to the point, difficult because I like to have clarity, irritating because I ask too many questions, antisocial because I am a quiet person, not loving because I express my love differently, stingy because I don’t like to spend money on the things they like, I could go on for a while but let me leave it at that for now.

After a while, I noticed that I had accepted these things as who I am. I started introducing myself as an antisocial person or as an annoying person because I tend to ask a lot of questions and apologizing for it beforehand. Now and then I met someone who would tell me that being quiet didn’t mean I’m antisocial or that having a lot of questions wasn’t annoying but interesting. So, depending on who the others are, certain personalities or characteristics are interpreted differently.

As a Christian, I have the habit of starting my day with a morning devotional which includes reading the Word, meditating and journaling. One day as I was meditating on who I am, intending to know who I wanted to be. As I was journaling The Holy Spirit* reminded me who I used to be. He helped me see the things that stood out about me as a young child, like, courageous, honesty, openness and friendliness. This is one of the attribute of The Holy Spirit. They were things I had lost sight of because they were not appreciated or recognized as valuable. They were seen and experienced as annoying. I started writing down all the labels I had received including everything I knew myself to be.

I don’t deny what they were saying about me, but The Holy Spirit helped me see them from a different point of view. Not as something bad, but as something good depending on how one viewed them. When I started to see them from a positive point of view, I could accept them as who I am.

If we are not careful, we will go through life claiming personalities and characteristics that others have given to us. The world is always ready to tell you who you are if you let them. They will define you based on a snapshot of what you said, did or didn’t do.

Some people don’t ever take time to know who they are and end-up going through life with a twisted point of view of who they are or are not. It is of great importance that we take time to know who we are. There is great joy and peace in having that knowlegde. It makes it easier to also know where we want to go, which on it’s own helps us discern our priorities. Which ofcouse is very important for our existances.

So, will you depend on others and the world to tell you who are or will you let the spirit of God our Father guide you into who you truly are?

You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.

* The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God that lives in born again Christians. Who functions as a guardian.

Posted in Interviews

“Big dreams with a even bigger God”

This is my way of giving something back to my Savior, of course it’s nothing compared to what He did on the cross, but I know it’s because of his blood and bruises that I am healed.

Who is Lenaa I AM in one sentence?

A young woman with big dreams with a bigger God.


What is the inspiration for your name?


Before I started as a solo artist, I wanted to start as a duo with my younger sister. We were planning to go by the name “Linaa Lenaa”. But we didn’t continue with that project because even though my younger sister loved music, she wanted to focus on other things. I was in my feelings about the situation. So, one day I decided to pray about it. I was very nervous because I had to change the vision and I felt like I wasn’t good/talented enough to go out there as a solo artist. While I was praying, I strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. He started to speak to me, and I remember asking Him this question: “Every song I’ve written is a duet, how am I going to do this?” And He replied: “I AM your duo now, you and me. You will not be alone because I am with you.” Then He led me to the book of Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” So that night instead of “Linaa Lenaa” it became “Lenaa I AM” As in Lenaa and The Great I AM.

Why did you choose to become a Gospel singer instead of a mainstream music singer? And was it a difficult decision?


This is my way of giving something back to my Savior, of course it’s nothing compared to what He did on the cross, but I know it’s because of his blood and bruises that I am healed. He changed me, and a lot of my old/bad habits, took me out of depression, and many other situations. He changed me from the inside out (He’s still working on me daily btw). His love is pure and unconditional. So, the question is why not become a Gospel singer?

As a Gospel singer, how do you perceive mainstream music?


I believe it’s important to have a personal relationship with God because the works of the Holy Spirit is always on a personal level. I always ask myself the questions: “Is it beneficial? Does it affect my spirit? Change my mood? or does it distract me from the things God told me to do?” I think it’s something you need to figure out for yourself and be honest about it. 

I know that you recently brought out your single “Lost” what would you say is the inspiration of this song?


My single “Lost” was my prayer, it was a cry to God, whom I needed at that moment. So, I guess I would say, my difficulties.


Who would you say is your greatest inspiration?


Mary Mary, a gospel duo, who played a big part in the lives of my little sister and I. That’s why I came up with the duo “Linaa Lenaa” in the first place. They were one of the biggest gospel artists that I knew. I always loved the way they sang, and how they always came up with new sounds.

What is your goal as an Artiest?


My Goal is to enlarge the kingdom of God, motivating people by introducing them to Jesus Christ and bringing them joy, peace and hope and all the other good stuff that comes with having Christ in your life. Also, to show others that you really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.


What would you say to anyone who is struggling to decide to follow their dreams even though it might be a risky dream?

Just do it. Get out of your head, don’t look at what you have or don’t have, and don’t look at your weaknesses. Start to find strength/positivity in your weaknesses because God Has already giving you the tools that you need. And spend a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of time with the Lord and His Word, and just do it!

Do you worry about not succeeding?


To be honest I used to, even until a few weeks ago. But not anymore because I know who I am.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

Daniel Fast Journey 2020

I will start off saying that this fast really wasn’t half as easy as I thought It would be. Which I’m glad about because if it would have been easy it, wouldn’t have been a fast. I thought it would be easy because I love fruits and I barely buy any snacks at all. So, yes it wasn’t hard during the time I was at home. You can probably already guess it…
Things got harder the times I was outside, either at work, with families or during the times I was doing a specific activity during which I had the habit of snacking, like reading for an example.

I was very motivated and ready to go for it in the first and a half weeks. The second half of that week and the last week were a lot harder, especially the last week. I found myself losing a lot of focus during those weeks. Which is a shame, but that’s the struggle of a long fast.

When you scroll down, you will see the things I fasted for and the lessons I received in each area. I hope that these lessons can also be off help to you.

I fasted for:

  • Growth in my prayer life:
    • schedule it on a specific time
    • use bible verses to pray with
    • you can start praying from the inside-out or the outside-in. Meaning: you can start praying for yourself and end with praying for others. That would be from the inside-out, or you can pray the other way around.
    • Prayer is realizing you need God.
    • An essential element of humility = prayer.
    • 2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 
    • When you pray, you’re not begging God. You’ve been invited to ask, seek and knock. Matthew 7:7
  • Become more zealous for Christ:
    • James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
      • This specific vers helped me truly realized where the heart of God lies. For a very long time, I’ve mixed God’s priority with the world’s priority one way or another which lead me to make things very complicated for myself. I can now start focussing on the things that are truly important to God. I must say that reading the Bible also helped me to get more insight into these things.
  • Proverbs 29:18 … Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Where there is no vision people perish)
    • I came across this verse while listening to a sermon of MK form TC and he once more reminded me of the importance of knowing where am going, knowing what the goal is. Because the things of the world and the things of God get mixed-up so easily these days, it helps to know what your goal/vision is in life.
  • Matthew 5: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
    • Being the SALT of the earth means being valuable, common, indispensable, and useful. (Zeke AIPC)
    • Being the LIGHT of the world means that you are important and that the world needs your light to shine bright, not to be deemed or hidden. (Zeke AIPC)
    • This teaching has once more anchored my Identity in Christ!
  • Growth in holiness and purity:
    • If you don’t admit that your weakness is real, you can’t ever be strong in that area. (Mike T. TC)
    • My weakness is only a weakness if I’m trying to do things in my own strength. But it becomes a gift if I do things being aware the grace of God in my life. (Charles TC)
    • This fast made me realize that even though I really desire to become holy, pure and blameless before God, I can’t do it with my own strength. I need God’s help.

The lesson that kept repeating over and over again was the importance of the things I exposed my eyes to. I noticed again and again how much that influent me above all other things.

I didn’t pray for things that I can receive directly. They’re things that take time to cultivate. So, as you can read, God gave me instructions on how I can achieve these things over time. As you also may have seen, they’re things that have a lot to do with my current state. Things I can start doing if I want to get to that goal.

Sometimes when we request something from God, the most important part can be that we must change certain things in our lives first or change a certain mindset before we can achieve/receive our request.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

How to easily get through your Bible

Two years ago I got sick and tired of being a mediocre Christian. I saw others growing around me and as much as I wished I was growing as they were, I wasn’t ready to do what I knew it took to grow. When I decided to grow, be better and do better as a Christian, I knew I had to do more…

Reasons why I wanted to be committed to every day Bible reading:

  1. wanting to understand: At a certain moment, I wanted to get more out of the sermons that I listened to. Because I didn’t know the stories in the Bible, I couldn’t always follow what was being said or understand the underlying meaning of things.
  2. Conviction: I started to feel a little phony whenever I would say that I am a Christian because I knew that I honestly barely knew anything of what I was proclaiming to be.
  3. Desire: As my love for God and (little by little) my knowledge of God was growing, I started desiring to know Him. I wanted to able to understand what I already knew, and I wanted to know what I didn’t know.

Reading the Bible in 2 years wasn’t that much of a hassle as I thought It would be. I didn’t plan to read the Bible in 2 years. It actually sorts of happened. I just decided to commit to reading the Bible every single day in 2018, and it happened that I could read through it that way in 2 years.

I believe you can already see that if I truly read the Bible every single day, I would’ve finished it way earlier then 2 years. I didn’t read the Bible every single day because of the hassle of everyday life, but whenever I would slacked off, I would pick myself back up and recommit myself. The funny thing is that you actually DO notice when your spirit is running low because The Holy Spirit feeds on prayer and The Word. So, when you stop doing that, you starve The Spirit of God in you, and that was my alarm every single time.

How I did it practically:

These are the Bible reading plans that have helped me to read through my Bible these past 2 years. They pretty much cover the whole Bible. I really can’t recommend the Youversion Bible app or at Bible. com enough. It’s such an amazing tool that has helped me through so many subjects. Some I’ve read alone, and others I read with friends.

  • The Old Testament – The books of History
  • The Old Testament – The books of Wisdom
  • The Old Testament – Major Prophets
  • The Old Testament – Minor Prophets
  • 60 day New Testament Journey

What I also found very helpful was that there is also an option to listen to the Bible. A lot of the translations have this option, but not every single one of them yet. This has been such an effective tool for a day-dreamer like me. Depending on what time I had to be somewhere, work, school or an appointment, I would get up very early. I found myself to be most productive in the mornings so, reading the Bible during that time is the easiest for me. But the very 1h30m, I really can’t concentrate. I day-dream a lot! Listening and reading along have helped me to be productive even during those moments. Besides that, it’s a great way to hear the Word of God for people who can’t read.

If reading through the Bible is too big of a jump for you, the Youversion Bible app also has reading plans on subjects, and you can search for any subject you wish. For example worry, focus, decisions, prayer, love, faith, etc. It’s all up to you.

Benefits of having read the whole Bible one’s:

  • There haven’t been any sermon that I found difficult to follow or understand.
    • Why is this important: If you don’t know the word of God you will be like a wave going from left to right and back and forth. Anyone can tell you anything, and you will believe it because you don’t know better anyway. This is why being a Prophet in this generation makes so much money, the people can’t even distinguish between false or right teaching.
  • I have come to know Jesus and God the Father way better than before which has rooted my faith even more.
    • Why is this important: Knowing the word of God is like water to a plant for a Christian. If we don’t get that water, we dry up and every little wind that comes by just swipes us up like a feather. Bye-bye, perseverance.
  • I can now distinguish between a false and sincere servant of God through what they preach.
    • Why is this important: Because there are so many false teachers out there today, this would be one of the most important lessons I’ve learned through knowing the Bible. Believe it or not, but a lot of Christians today perish because of a lack of knowledge which is honestly a shame because we have all the researches that we need right under our nose. Hosea 4: 6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…

These are not condemnations, but my very own experiences and things I’ve seen around me in Christian communities.

Reading the Bible is not something you do based on wishful thinking. It’s a commitment you make followed up by discipline. Life will always give you reasons why you don’t have time to read the Word of God. But the Bible teaches in Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So, Don’t be fooled.

So, to sum it all up:
Having a good reason why you want to read the Bible is very crucial. Like everything else we want to achieve I guess. When the ‘why’ is settled and clear, it will be a lot easier to commit to the goal.

I would very much like it if you didn’t take my word of it and actually tried it yourself.