Letters to Young People: Preparing Towards A Holistic Family Life (2)

Dear Kwesi,

It is refreshing to hear from you. When you saw Adwoa’s letter, you asked what you could also do to prepare yourself adequately for marriage and family life. I was excited about your question because it takes two well-prepared people to build a fruitful home.

I must confess that your question is quite difficult to answer compared to Adwoa’s even though it is the same question. Hmm, when it comes to marriage and family life, I think the biggest responsibility falls on the man. This is because God has made him the head of the family and if the ‘head’ is sick, there will surely be disaster in the family.

So, you need to first of all train your ‘head’. I am very happy that you have had a good education. Your certificates will pay off in your search for employment. Aside from that, the knowledge you have acquired will be useful in your daily decisions. Interestingly education has a way of sharpening one’s life. Please tell your friends who do not want to go to school because they feel it is a waste of time to do so because it will pay off for them in the future.

I am even more elated to know that you love reading. Keep reading a wide variety of materials. Your reading list far exceeds materials on marriage, relationship and parenting. It should cover materials on financial management, entrepreneurship, marketing among others. You need to be versatile. A time will come when you will need multiple sources of income. So train yourself in that regard now.

Secondly, get your hands busy. It is refreshing to know that you are hardworking. A lazy man is poison to his generation, so when you meet young men like yourself, tell them to quit ‘sleep’ and vain talk and get their hands busy in productive ventures. Do not let your education prevent you from any productive thing you can learn or do with your hands.

And for someone like you who wants to enter into full time ministry this is fundamental. Your able hands will help you earn some money for your family alongside ministry. You remember Paul’s example? He was a tent maker and did not beg for his upkeep. He enjoyed freely from the generosity of God’s people without compulsion and reproach.

Kindly tell the young Christian brothers that their desire for full time ministry does not mean they cannot do anything productive with their hands. All they need is to identify, learn and establish some productive ventures they can run alongside ministry. God’s people must not beg for bread.

Financial prudence and abundance belong to God’s children; it is high time we appropriated it. As a man the financial responsibility of your family falls on you, of course with support from your wife. You do not have to fail at this major responsibility. That is why you need to take your time to plan and lay some good foundation financially.

Yes, you do not need all the money in the world before you get married, but you need a workable plan and a regular source of income. Please note the adjectives—workable and regular. Please do not ignore this advice. Without adequate finance for your daily upkeep, your marriage can land on rocks. I always tell young men who are not ready to work not to think of marriage. This is because they will let innocent women and children suffer unnecessarily.

Also get your vision right so that the woman God blesses you with can support you in that regard. No wise lady wants to follow a man who does not know where he is heading towards. So please be very sure about that and tell your friends to do so too. Think hard, plan well, write down your goals. Where you need more direction, pray to God, but don’t live in total darkness and uncertainty in the name of faith.

I know of young men who say they want to marry spiritual ladies so that their wives will pray for them and raise their children in the way of the Lord. I always laugh when I hear this. The man is the spiritual head of the family. He is supposed to be on his feet interceding for his family like Isaac did for Rebecca. I am glad you have trained yourself to be a prayer warrior and an intercessor. When you finally get married, make sure you do not push the prayer needs of your family to your wife.

Regarding your children, purify them with the word of God together with your wife. I am glad your feet are deeply rooted in the word of God. Please teach your friends and the other young men to get the word of God into their heads and hearts. It will save them in days of adversity.

Now learn as much as you can about women. You are blessed to have sisters and to know how to relate with them. But for the sake of your friends who like to read your letter with you, let them learn how to respect women and honour them. Tell them to give up autocratic and selfish tendencies as these are not attractive to young ladies but detrimental to healthy family life.

Visionary ladies are attracted to young men who have given themselves to good personal grooming. You do not need to have too many clothes but you need to wash regularly and iron them nicely.

Some young men do not take their personal hygiene seriously. Their body odour and bad breath can cause you to faint. Tell your friends to take note of these things. I wonder why some of them do not want to shave their underarm hair and trim their nails. These are some of the reasons why the church ladies do not like dating the church guys.

Please permit me to end here because baby Nyamedea needs attention now. You will hear from me again regarding this issue. Until then, take note of these things and teach your friends to do same. Stay blessed and keep shining.

Yours,

P. G. Okyere Asante

Letters to Young People: Preparing Towards A Holistic Family Life

Dear Adwoa,

I trust you are doing great. This letter is in response to your question on how to prepare yourself holistically for family life. I was excited to hear you ask such an important question.

First of all I will encourage you to train your physical body for the task ahead. By physical training, I mean developing the discipline for daily exercise. This will keep your body strong and in perfect shape for the task ahead especially for the daunting task of pregnancy and child birth. It will also keep your mind alert and sound.

Secondly, you need to train your hands. Acquire skills that will be useful now and in the future. Put your hands to the task of learning how to do some good cooking.

Some say that not knowing how to cook does not make you less of a woman. Yes this may be true, but if you can cook for yourself and family, you will save yourself from most of the junk foods on the street that are contributing to the rising burden of chronic illnesses in Africa and for that matter Ghana.

You may ask, “How about I get someone to cook for me?” Yea, that is a good idea except that you can’t completely control what goes into that food. For instance, I don’t put magi or any other spices in my food except a lot of onions, ginger and garlic. But I have no control over these things whenever I eat from outside.

It will also be financially impracticable for your family to depend solely on food sold on the streets. Regarding the issue of a maid cooking for your family, let’s talk about it another time.

Let your hands be skillful, swift and malleable. Learn a little of everything at your disposal: bead making, baking, stitching, etc. Learning to do these things will not make you less of an educated woman. It rather increases your opportunities of earning multiple sources of income in future. That way your family will never lack no matter what.

Thirdly, attain head knowledge. By this I mean you should acquire as much information as possible about family life. Grab books on relationship, marriage and parenting. Don’t wait till you get there before you read. It may be too late as you may have already committed some mistakes.

My friends used to tease me that I loved marriage too much (aware3 y3 wo d3 dodo) because I read a lot about relationships. I had piles of books on relationship and marriage and few ones on parenting.

It was not only because I loved marriage and family but also because I wanted to help other people in this regard. I felt that family life is too precious to be ignored. How else would we secure the future of the human race if we downplayed the essence of family life? So please prepare yourself in this regard.

Fourthly, train your heart for today and the future. By this I mean submit your heart to love.  Love God, love your neighbour. Family life is built on love. Without love, there will be no meaningful relationship, marriage and family.

Learn to respect and appreciate everyone who comes your way for the value of human life is enormous. Learn good interpersonal and communication skills. These are not only important for marriage and family life but also for your professional life. Learn some financial prudence too. It will pay off in your single and family life.

Lastly, I will say that add prayers to all these things. I love to pray because prayer makes the impossible possible. Prayer moves the hand of God, and makes rivers spring up in deserts. Prayer has caused miracles in my personal family life. That is why I cannot end my letter without emphasizing the need for prayer as you prepare towards your dream marriage and family life.

If you trust God and let Him lead you towards His direction, you will have no regret. I have told you time and again that there are no regrets where God leads. Feel free to let me know if you need clarification on anything.

Yours,

P. G. Okyere Asante

 

 

Taken for Granted

The hospital environment has a humbling aura. It has a way of opening one’s mind to the realities of life and how we have taken important things for granted. How we take ‘the granted for granted’ is amazing. It also reveals how awesome God is and how ungrateful man can be.

As I shared my observation with my sister, I mentioned how we take the air we breathe for granted. We jump out of our beds and often forget to say thank you to God. Then the next moment we are murmuring about the money we don’t have or something God has not done for us. Lord have mercy!

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With Nyamedea, just before he was discharged.

We are able to drink, eat, move our bodies, walk and even run. But at the hospital wards, especially at the emergency ward, one’s ability to lift a finger is a miracle. To be able to take a sip of water is a miracle. And to be able to eat, pass urine and talk are all miracles. Wow! And we always take these for granted?

I was humbled when in church someone shared the testimony of how God enabled her free her bowels. She had struggled to pass stool for a while, a condition which had serious medical implications. So her joy knew no bounds when God healed her.

One may say, “But passing urine and stool are normal everyday occurrences?” No they are not. It is same with the ability to breathe. You should have seen this little boy struggling for breath at the hospital. He had to be aided with oxygen.

Let’s learn to worry and complain less and abound more in thanksgiving. God’s mercies and goodness are without limit and deserve appreciation. My four-day stay at the hospital with my son opened my eyes to things we ordinarily take for granted.

Lord I pray that anytime I find myself in seemingly dark situations, help me to count what you have granted and not take them for granted.

PS: My thanks to all who visited, prayed and supported us in diverse ways.

A Letter to A New Wife

In this letter to a new wife, Uncle Ebo Whyte touches on the key thing that can make marriage work for a wife–understanding how men are wired and responding accordingly.

Roverman Productions

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Dear Solace,

I will never forget the way you looked on your wedding day. You looked radiant and lovely and almost perfect. And that smile you had on your face spoke volumes of your love for John, whose ring you were going to wear, and of your hope of a better and happier future. I will cherish that image of you in your wedding gown for the rest of my life and I pray that the reality of marriage will exceed your wildest imagination and expectations.

You asked me for insights that may help you make a success of your marriage. Well, John, your husband has also asked me for the same thing. I sent him his letter last week and I have asked him to share it with you and you are also to share yours with him.

Solace, I know you know that you married a man but…

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A Letter to A New Husband

In this letter to a new husband, Uncle Ebo Whyte touches on three key points that can make marriage work for a husband: (1) identifying your wife’s love language; (2) understanding how women are wired; and (3) maintaining emotional maturity.

Roverman Productions

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Dear Mr. New Husband,

First of all, congratulations on your wedding. You made a good choice. Solace is a great girl and I am sure that if you prove to be the right partner, she will make you very happy.

My dear Mr. New Husband, you asked me to give you some tit bits on how to make a success of your marriage. You said you wanted nothing less than a fantastic marriage. And you asked if I could give you any ideas for becoming the best husband alive.

Well, first of all, you cannot become the best husband alive. That is not possible. To pick the best husband alive, we will have to make the contestants marry the same girl at the same time and live under the same circumstances because only then can we judge which of them is the best. But as you can see, it is…

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Journaling Through Life

One of our secrets to churning out insightful articles is that we journal.

But that’s not the only thing journaling does. From writing down your lows and highs and your thoughts about them, to documenting your goals and dreams, journaling helps you to rethink, reorganise yourself and rebound.

Life is a great teacher. But you have to pay attention and take notes if you want to be a great student.  Michael Hyatt

By the way, if you ever want to write a self-help book, a devotional, a memoir, or a blog, journaling is inevitable. Michael Hyatt, a leadership and productivity expert, has provided a short descriptive text that can serve as a guide.

If you haven’t yet, hit the bookshop and find yourself a spacious diary, a writing pad or a journal and begin to write your story.

If you are digitally inclined there are a lot of apps such as Evernote that support journaling. But be sure to always back up so you don’t lose vital information.

All the best in your journaling.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/J. Henning Buchholz

The Sweetness of Your Word

Oh Lord how sweet are thy words to me

How comforting! How lovely.

They soothe my anxious heart

They heal my weary soul

They are strength to my bones

They are life to my failing flesh

Oh how sweet!

Thy words are directions to my wandering feet

Instructions to my wayward heart

O Lord how I love thy words!

They melt my fears

They embolden me

I face my foes

I win life’s battle because of thy words

Oh how sweet! How lovely.

I have hope, hope of eternity

I have peace, eternal peace

I have joy, joy unceasing

All because of thy words

Oh how sweet! How lovely.

Oh grace grant thou me

That daily I may feast on thy words

That I may reflect daily on the wisdom therein

Grace grant thou me

That I may follow steadily every detail of thy words

When all is said and done,

May thy words lead me to thy feet

Oh how sweet are thy words oh Lord!

(c) P. G. Okyere Asante, November, 2016

When I shared this poem with my husband, he asked, “Since when did you start writing poems?” I responded that poetry is part of the mine of gifts that have not been unearthed.

I can’t completely explain how I felt when I wrote the poem, but I know I was unwell; I had been to the hospital a number of times. The symptoms I saw scared me badly. Fear crippled me. I wasn’t only physically unwell but was emotionally and spiritually disturbed. I felt light and empty. I woke up in the morning and instead of feeling renewed, I rather felt tired. I struggled to step out of the house. No energy, no drive, no zeal even when I had things to attend to out there.

I had said few prayers both quietly and aloud: “Oh Lord have mercy on me!” “I am strong in Jesus’ name.” I blurted these out a couple of times yet nothing changed.

So I picked my Bible and began to feed on it. It was my major task. I read and read. I took break to eat, then came back to it. I did that for three days. On the fourth day I had renewed energy. I went out to do some weeding on our compound, something I hadn’t really done before. It was while clearing the weeds that the words poured out of my heart. I wrote them down while going to bed.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

The word had entered my soul and spirit, it had entered my joints and marrow to give strength to my body. It entered my heart and thought to drive away fear of the non-existent. The word had healed my anxious heart.

As we commit ourselves to studying God’s word every single day and completing the entire Bible in a year, make the most of it. It may seem like a waste of time but it’s not; in fact it is a great time saver. Be encouraged. Fight on!

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Nikolaj Bourguignon