As I was praying yesterday over what this post should be about, I felt a nudge towards writing about something I have never really talked about candidly and at length before: how this blog has changed and grown me as a person.
Sure, I have talked a lot about where the Chibok girls have been, as well as new developments in their story—and that is how it should be. After all, that is one of the core values, or goals, of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY: to keep people in the know about the Chibok girls, Boko Haram, and Nigeria as a whole, while also asking for prayer for their situation.
But I have never spoken about my personal journey writing this blog—and how Christ has changed me as a person, through it. It is my prayer that those of you reading this would be encouraged and stirred up by this post—and that you would ultimately grow closer to Jesus through it!
Without further ado, here we go!
It all started in late April/early May of 2014. I must be honest: I had heard about the Chibok girls, yet had let their situation go in one ear, and out the other. But, as I participated in an online devotional and bible study community, a friend shared that she wanted to pray and fast for the girls—and this time, the news of their kidnapping hit me like a ton of bricks.
As I immediately went to search the internet about their story, I experienced a sorrow that I had never before felt for those I had never met. I fell to my knees, sobbing convulsively, feeling the heavy emotional weight of love for these young girls. Immediately, I chose to pray and fast snacks and sweets for the Chibok girls. It was to happen for a week, as all of us (those in the Bible study) came to the throne room to pray for the freedom of the Chibok girls.
A few months later, while praying for the girls’ release, I was convicted of my own complacency toward the fact that the girls had not yet been freed. Though I prayed, I did not pray with faith or true, passionate fervency…
But as I prayed that morning, Christ led me to Isaiah 62. Some of you may have already read the passage in the “About” or “Story” page of the blog’s website, but for those of you who have not, this is Isaiah 62:1-7.
It was here that I believe I received a promise from Christ: the girls would be freed, in Christ’s way and timing; and I, as an intercessor, am to not stop praying for each and every one of the girls’ release until they all have tasted freedom (again, in Christ’s way and timing).
Along with this, Christ showed me how much He Loves and Cares about these girls. “Why did you stop caring?” He said. “These hands bled for them, too.”
The rest is history. I created this blog, and almost four years later, I am still writing posts about the girls. But it has not been without some major setbacks, at times.
A lot of you faithful readers have read posts like this, where I have shared how I felt I needed to write these posts to somehow gain/win the acceptance and approval of Christ. As BeautyBeyondBones has said, “Living FOR acceptance and love is BONDAGE; living FROM acceptance and love is FREEDOM.”
To be honest, there were times where, out of fear of somehow not pleasing Christ enough, I would become paralyzed in fear and frustration, having to step away from the computer to take a walk and settle my mind down before trying again to write the post.
I look back at this time of my life, thinking of what a waste of time that was—to spend my life anxiously trying to win the approval and acceptance of a God who already did all that was needed for me to be accepted and approved of.
Because of such a worldview, this blog became nothing but a burden to me. Taking the firm advice of a few friends, I quit writing for a couple of months to reset my brain, and to fight the lie of working to get Jesus’ approval that I had held on to for so long. I am ashamed to write this down; after all, it is not about me. It is about loving the innocent girls who were ripped away from their homes.
I was able to go back to writing after a month or so of being on break. Although I still have troubles from time to time about writing these blog posts, I know deep down that I am to write them out of love and the acceptance I already have in Christ.
What have I learned in these past three years? How have I changed as a person because of this blog?
I have learned that, in some ways, I expected things from Christ that He never really promised me. That truly, this whole thing is going to happen in His way, and His timing.
I also learned that I don’t need to be a crying mess to prove to myself, or anyone else, how much I truly do love and care over the Chibok girls. Being faithful to lift them up in prayer doesn’t always mean I need to get incredibly psyched up. I trust Christ to hear me and to do His will, however He so chooses. Love is not always a heavy emotion; sometimes, it is merely staying faithful, choosing to lay down one’s life for others.
That’s not to say that I don’t have times where I cry or get frustrated. Yet, I have learned that every Chibok girl who has been freed—every prayer request answered by Christ—is worth the time and tears. Even if only one Chibok girl was freed, it would all be worth it.
There is one thing that I am just now learning: I can’t try to fulfill this ministry on my own. Many times– including even in writing this post– I have found that if I don’t spend time with Jesus Christ, I am less able to carefully listen to His Voice, doing as He says. Spending time with Jesus is crucial in fulfilling any ministry. Without spending time with Him, it quickly becomes the legalistic work I mentioned earlier.
Another thing I’ve learned is this: Christ. Is. Faithful. He has brought out over half of these young women! When I started this blog, that kind of freedom and answer to prayer was a pipedream. But Jesus did it!!!
This is the main thing I have learned: Christ, who never changes, is faithful; and therefore, I can put all of my Hope, all of my Trust, and all of my heart’s devotion in and to Him. No matter what the situation looks like, right now, I can stand fast—and not be shaken by the pain of it all.
My God LOVES these girls, and it has truly been a worthwhile, profound journey—one that is not over, yet. All in all, I am excited to see what Christ will do, next.
Do you know Jesus?
Writing about these young women, their tormentors, and all of Nigeria as a whole, Jesus has continually shown me 1) His Love for all people, and 2) The fact that He is perfectly Just.
How can a God be both Loving and Just, in the face of sin? Read more about Jesus Christ—and how He is both—here.
Please pray for (the prayer sheets are here):
- Leah Sharibu. She is still not free, after refusing to convert to Islam.
- Me, as I continue to write about the Chibok girls on this blog. Pray that I would remain faithful and passionate about these beautiful young women, and about Christ.
- That the remaining Chibok girls would come home, soon!
Thank you all for your prayers and support!!! 😊