My Twenty-Nine-Day Open Gratitude Challenge: 2018

The month of October would always be an exceptional month for me – and this year, it is memorable. Every year since October 2015, I embark on a twenty-nine-day gratitude challenge. I call it “October of Gratitude” and the results have been profound. God laid this idea in my heart in September 2015. I was going through a dark patch at the time. I was giving up…but God kept urging me to #PressOn… I was glad I did. I watched in awe how simple praises from a grateful heart levelled out all the mountains on my path. In October 2017, God encouraged me to #KeepPressingOn…and this year, he has given me a reason for #PraiseUnending…

It is beautiful that in October every year since I started, God always seems to have a big surprise waiting for me. In October 2015, mid-way into my first edition of October of Gratitude praise challenge, I got my first job. The next year, at about the same time, I got my first car, and it was a gift. In October 2017, I started my website, and it was not something I planned to do. I recall how nervous I was when I published my first post. This year, I can unequivocally say I have the best of packages ever – and like every other, it was never planned.

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This October was the most stressful of my life and several times, I was more natural to sulk. I thank God for the grace to quickly regain myself, like the Psalmist, and to give praise regardless. I have several reasons to be thankful, but here are a few I can share:

 

  • Omnipresence:  Just this month, I’ve stepped foot in 6 cities. To say the least, it was super hectic…it made me appreciate better how much of a wonder God is. He is everywhere and never tired. Any time I call, He listens….where ever, whenever, however… His love reaches me everywhere! When I safely go to bed, God keeps working… It is amazing!

 

  • Beauty in diversity: I am grateful for the African race. I am glad to be Nigerian as you might know – it was neither a mistake nor a coincidence. It is beautiful to reflect on how far God has brought my county, Nigeria these 58 years and counting. Recently, I attended a course, and I was the only West African in a hall filled with delegates from around the world. It made me appreciate the fact that irrespective of our race, sex, skin colour, scientific or any other background, we are all the same. Uniquely different, but one! I am awestruck at God’s creativity in fashioning out such an array of humans.

 

  • The Gift of Languages: I am grateful to the greatest linguist ever! In this small crowd is a mix of people who speak different languages – English, Spanish, Italian, French, name it… Recently, I visited a country where some of the locals do not speak English. It makes communication quite a challenge. It is beautiful to know that despite our language differences, God always understands our every word – even our silence. He reaches out to us when our burdens are so heavy that tears become our language. He hears..he listens…he answers.

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  • The Weather: There is a certain temperature at which the human body functions optimally. Anything above or below this is not ideal. I am grateful for the beautiful tropical weather which we enjoy here. You cannot really appreciate how lucky we are on this side of the world until you change environments. Although living in the tropics is not without its unique challenges, I am grateful for the warmth here – and I absolutely love it.

 

  • Spicy Food: I have lived in Africa almost all my life. To be more specific, in West Africa. I love how diverse and spicy our foods are. During the few days I visited Trieste, I missed food. I felt somewhat like I had not eaten – the food options I was provided were nice but just not my taste. Many times, we take simple things like the food we eat for granted. I am grateful for the rich variety of healthy African foods that have been saving lives since 1500…lol.

 

  • Quiet time: Nothing rejuvenates me more than my quiet time. I am grateful to God for the sweetness of his presence, the joy and peace that nothing on earth can afford, the assurance that God always has my attention despite how great He is. I can never fully comprehend the depths of the riches of God’s grace and mercy towards me. I could not even try to, but I am grateful from the depths of my heart.

 

  • The Sunset: I am grateful for the beautiful things of life that we miss out on in pursuit of the bigger things which do not necessarily matter. I live in the tropics where the sun rises and sets every day, but never for once did I see the need to watch this phenomenon and absorb the beauty of it. On one evening during my short visit to Trieste, my new friends and I went out to watch the sunset. Yeah, we left everything “important” to watch the sunset, and guess what? It was too beautiful! I could not believe what I had been missing out on all these years…

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  • Godfidence: I am grateful for the confidence I have which is God-derived. I am confident that He who has started a good work in me would complete it. I am confident that God is always with me direct me on the right paths to take. I am confident that God has wonderful plans for me and as I walk with Him, he will lead me in the ways of life. I am confident that God has a special purpose for my existence and I will fulfil that which He has created me for. I am confident that God did not make me ordinary but has configured me to make a tremendous impact in my world.

 

  • Strength: I am grateful for the strength God has given to me. There were times this month when I was tempted to throw in the towel and give up. The pressure was intense. I thank God for giving me the inner strength and motivation to overcome these. It is interesting how it always feels darkest and toughest just before a major breakthrough. I do not rely on my strength else I would utterly fail. I do not take for granted the fact that God is my source and because he strengthens me, I can do all things.

 

  • Sleep: Every night, we go to bed and wake up the next morning. This is no ordinary event; it is a miracle. I am thankful for each waking breath and sleepy eyes. I am grateful to God who stipulated that our bodies get proper rest after a tiring day’s work. I am thankful to God, the trendsetter who set the record straight by being a perfect example – resting after each day’s work and after creation.  I am thankful how refreshing sleep is. I always pray for God to reveal deep insights and hidden treasures of this world to me in my sleep; so you should know that when my body goes to sleep, my mind is even more alert. Lately, I have enjoyed a healthy dose of rest and I am grateful to God for it.

 

  • Happy: I am excited because knowing God brings me so much joy. I can honestly say that God has crowned me with good things and I am thankful. This year has been so amazing so far, and it can only get better. I am grateful for all the beautiful memories that have been created so far, and for the ones yet to be created. I have always been known to be the “happy child”; but right now, my happiness knows no bound. I excitedly look forward to the future because it looks terrific. I am writing this from a happy place. I lack ways to express my profound gratitude to God.

 

  • Time: I am grateful to God for the gift to time. I have always believed in the principle of time and chance: there is an appointed time for every man, and when that time comes, things work out beautifully. I am thankful to God for the grace to patiently wait on Him instead of hastily trying to work things out myself and running into problems in the process. I am thankful for God makes everything beautiful in its time. I am grateful for every time when it seemed that I was buried, whereas God had planted me for greatness. I am thankful because God is excellent in all His ways even though His ways are sometimes entirely different from what I had envisaged. I love God’s timing…

 

  • Family: I am very grateful for the gift of family – both nuclear and extended. I am blessed to have grown up in a loving and supportive environment, and I thank God every day for it. Now that I am miles away from home, I appreciate even better how valuable and precious it is to be surrounded by loved ones. Earlier this year, my beloved Grandma passed on, and it cut deeply. The memories we shared together would always be treasured, and that is what is most important. My grandma’s passing had a tremendous impact on me. It made me think carefully about the kind of memories I would want to live when I leave this world. I want to be remembered as a passionate lover! I am grateful to have an amazing family; this makes loving them a joy.

 

  • My Blog: I have always know that I enjoy writing on a small scale, but never did I imagine that I would take my writing to a larger scale someday. As a child, I wrote everything from letters to loved ones, to short stories, to my fantasies and childhood imaginations. It did not mean anything to me at the time. When I read books or heard someone was a writer, I wondered what exceptional talent they have got! I am thankful because I have found a way to express myself in writing. Sometimes, I wonder if I am a better writer than talker. Whatever the case, I am grateful for this gift.

 

  • Making appearances: I am thankful for the way God showcases me. It is always amazing how he stands me out from a crowd. This month, I have been featured on social media, national TV and on the radio. It takes my mind back to 2017 when I was featured on the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) page as one of the featured researchers for the International Women’s Day celebration. I am still in the very early stages of my career, and I thank God because He uses these things to encourage me on this path. I have no doubts at all that the future holds so much promise for me, and I am totally grateful for the opportunities.

 

  • Life in Ghana: One of the questions people ask me most frequently is “why Ghana?”. I can write a very lengthy post on this, but that would be a story for another day. The truth remains that this sun-kissed land has been good to me. I have created beautiful memories here already. I believe that it is crucial for us in life to be exactly where God wants us to be. Right now, I feel like this is where God wants me to be at the moment, and God has proved this time and again. I am grateful to God for the privilege to be here. For the exposure, for the people, for the lifestyle, for the food (trust me, I am not thinking of banku and tilapia with fried pepper right now)…but I am profoundly grateful to God for ordering my steps here.

 

  • Career Boost: I am grateful for how far God has brought me career-wise. I am definitely not the “smartest kid on the block”, but I have enjoyed a healthy dose of grace – unprecedented favour for the little efforts I put in. I have proved that little is much when God is in it. When people tell me that I am an inspiration to them, I simply look up, and this heart is grateful to God who has been my helper. The future looks promising – and that’s because I know who holds the future, and I know he holds my hand. I have no fears what tomorrow brings because I know that God would always glorify himself in me.

 

  • Excellence: I have always known that God is a perfect and articulate planner, but in the recent past, it has become more evident to me. I have seen God make sense of seemingly trivial situations and it was all part of his grand plan: beautifully orchestrated. I cannot help but appreciate how excellent God is in all his ways. It is too beautiful for me to imagine or describe. I am eternally thankful to God.

 

  • Resilience: If you read my blog post “Bitter-Sweet”, you probably know about my unpleasant experience but I am grateful to God for the good, bad and the ugly. I thank God for the things that he brings my way to make me stronger. I thank God for people who against all the odds are making something worthwhile of their lives. I thank God the ways that he blesses our little efforts and crowns are endeavours with remarkable success. I thank God for the grace to #KeepPressingOn…and to rise above every challenge.

 

  • The Ups and Downs: I love smiling – and people often tell me that I have a stellar smile. However, there are days when it is so difficult to bring a smile to my face. Really “down” days… I am grateful for these character-building days. They make me better appreciate the good days and teach me valuable life lessons. Sometimes, the hard lessons are the ones which stick best. I have learned to courageously embrace my downs and to confidently #KeepPressingOn… It is not going to the battlefront that makes one a warrior, but winning the battle. I know that if I must win, I must be ready to keep fighting until the victory is won.

 

  • Hymns: I love my hymns! It’s not just the music that gets to me but the lyrics of the songs. On countless occasions, just reading through the lyrics have ministered to me in extraordinary ways. I am grateful for the solemn Holy Spirit-inspired songs that tune our hearts to Heaven. I am thankful for each musical note beautifully combined in wonderful harmony. There is something spectacular about this genre of music and whatever that is, I am grateful for it.

 

  • The Unknowns: I imagine how boring our lives would be if we knew everything before it happened or we were very sure of the outcomes of everything that we tried out. For me, I love exciting, new challenges. I am grateful for the excitement I feel knowing that at each phase of my life journey, God is holding my hand and walking with me. Yeah, there are unknowns, but I can trust my known God who never fails me. While my blindfolds are on, he lovingly leads me to the beautiful surprises he has planned for me. This brings me immense delight. I am thankful.

 

  • Twenty-Nine: The number “twenty-nine” would always be a special number to me. I know that God has specially ordained it to be so. God has proven this fact severally to me. I am grateful to God for helping me to surrender to his leading when he laid it in my heart to begin this challenge. I am thankful to God because he always gives me at least twenty-nine reasons to praise every October. I am thankful because even when the twenty-nine days are over, my heart would still reel out the praises of God.

 

  • Praise: When I started my #OctoberofGratitude praise challenge, I did not realise what I was signing up. I knew I was grateful to God for everything he had done for me – even if that was all He ever did for me. Through this single activity, I have seen God do the unimaginable. I lack appropriate words to describe how rewarding this experience. I can understand when the Psalmist says, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise would continually be on my lips”. Trust me, it quickly becomes a lifestyle – I call it “Praiseliving”. I am grateful to be able to praise God because only those persons who are alive can do this. I am grateful to be alive!

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  • Love: I am eternally grateful for the gift of love. Do I sound mushy? Lol… Well, I mean the love of Christ that looked beyond my faults and imperfections. It is priceless when people know you in and out, accept you for who you are and love you regardless. There is absolutely no need trying to pretend or act like someone else – you are loved because you are you! There is absolutely no fear. In recent times, I have had a new understanding of the bible verse which says that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”. I am thankful to God for loving me.

 

  • Singlehood: Apparently, this is my last October as a single… I am grateful for the gift of singlehood. I have sweet memories of enjoying my own company…lol. During this phase, I took bold steps, I experimented with virtually everything I thought about. I tried to understand myself better. I learnt to block out the distractions around me and to focus on the things which I felt were most important to me. Now, I excitedly look forward to the future and to spending it with the one I love.

 

  • Total Package: “I lost everything to find Christ. In Him, I found my everything”. I am grateful to a God who loves me so much that he gives me everything that I need even before I ask for it. I call him my “total package”. He is always a step ahead in the grand scheme of things, and as I walk patiently and confidently with him, I have no fears of the future because I know who holds the future – and I know he holds my hands.

 

  • Amazing Support: I lack words to explain how thankful I am for the people God has placed in my life. Many times, I think about it, and it brings tears to my eyes. I am grateful for all the love, kind words, prayers and fellowship we have. I think that what is most important in life is our relationships – our relationship with God first, and then with others. As an introvert, I wonder how I am able to have such a formidable force solidly behind me but then, I realise that God always brings people into my life who would be a blessing to me as well as people whom I can bless. It is beautiful!

 

  • The Priceless Gift: On this day several years ago, a priceless jewel was born. She was love’s precious gift in its purest form – and she is still is. Her name is Pearl, and I suspect you know who she is… Lol. I am grateful that God special chose this day to gift me to my family. This year, God has given me a special gift to make this day a treasure forever! I would let you take a wild guess…..

 

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I have waited a full year for this and I am really excited that it is finally here! Thanks for sharing in my joy…and for reading my lengthy birthday write-up.



Categories: My lifestyle

Tags: , , ,

24 replies

  1. Let me confess, the synopsis you posted on your whatsApp status brought me here. And like you would have expected I was looking out to read you announce the much anticipated news… Lol.

    I can’t express my joys for you… So happy for you Pearl. Truly God has a plan for our lives, yours is a testament of this.

    I don’t mean to flatter you when I say you are an inspiration to our generations… You truly are and will continue to be.

    Happy belated birthday … I should be at your wedding to cheer you on… God bless you sis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww… Thanks so much for your support, Bro. Reading your comment has brought smiles to my face. I am profoundly grateful for friends like you. Thanks for cheering me on. May God give us reasons to celebrate many more victories together. See you at the top!

      Like

  2. I am grateful for all God has done and will keep doing for you. I love happy tales and this gladdens my heart beyond words can say. I rejoice with you now and in advance! Remain blessed!

    Like

  3. Happy Birthday Pearl. May God continue to bless you. I am always delighted to read your write-ups and I rejoice and celebrate with you. It’s a blessing to have a Goodly heritage.
    “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord”
    May the favour of God continue to be upon you as you transit to the this next stage in life – wishing you all of God’s blessings
    Ruth

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely write up as expected. I am also super excited about the good, eagerly anticipating the invite.

    Like

  5. I am so excited seeing your lovely write up. I remembered the day we had encounter for the first time, it was full of fun. through out your stay in Akure it was splendid. Still waiting for our fashion tutorial

    Like

  6. I’m very happy for you Pearl. Have a great year ahead…. Congrats on your engagement.

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  7. Precious Priceless Pearl,congratulations on your achievement , about taking a wild guess, hmmm.. let me tell you when we meet again,i will be Ghana soon again….Thank you very much for your support the last time i met you in Ghana.

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  8. You are blessed Pearl. A heart of gratitude is a heart prepared to receive more… This is the beginning of greater things to come sweetie…
    You are greatly loved and a huge congratulations to you. 😊❤

    Like

  9. U re making the ladies soooo proud…GOD bless u and keep making you fly higher….congratulations and more congratulations to come. Happy new month.

    Like

  10. Congrats Sissy,we cant wait,u have made my day GOD blesssss u,Thank U for making us proud I really wish and Pray I could attend,awwwww Ghana has started missing u already,oops life goes on dear we will still be connected in PRAYERS and in our hearts.

    Like

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