The Ride of your Life

Lioness. On safari in Tanzania, 2016.

I was unsure as to whether to title this post ‘The Ride of your Life’ or ‘The Adventure of a Lifetime’. A lot of my posts’ feature photos are taken while travelling and these ones I took while on safari in Tanzania. Looking back at them, and planning this post, I was trying to figure out which title would best suit the post. And I’ve realised that both, in the end, suit it perfectly. Here’s why.

During this trip to Tanzania, as I explained in my latest video, I faced one of the most trying seasons of my life which, honestly, was one of those battles that takes all of your might, strength and faith to get through. I think every adult has their first serious, memorable test of character, and that was definitely mine. I finally plucked up the courage to speak about it, and I am so grateful to God that it’s blessing people. If you’re in a dark season, please watch the video as I made it with you in mind, and it’ll give you a tried-and-tested, step-by-step template to get out of your storm, right now.

I found it so hard to film that video because my channel is deliberately focused on light and bringing love, joy, life and encouragement to people’s hearts; I rarely talk about deep, dark topics like depression and dark seasons, and when I do I try only to speak about them from a place of healing. I love that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness, and I am grateful He gave me the courage to film it and be vulnerable. I’m far from perfect, as we all know, so I am happy for the world to see that because He gets every ounce of the glory — none of my victory in that trial was me alone. And I am so thankful that God loves us and fights for us in our battles, and we have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14).

So here’s my encouragement to you. You’ll notice that on this page are some snaps of the lions we saw while on the safari. I want to encourage and remind you, if you’re in a dark season right now, that as a Christian you are not fighting this thing alone, and you have the upper hand. Why? Because our Heavenly Father is the Lion of Judah, and He protects His children like a lion protects its cubs. No evil will conquer you. There’s a song I’ve been singing and declaring as a battle cry when I’m facing a trial (Lion and the Lamb by Bethel Music), which I pray will bless you. Its lyrics read:

Our God is the lion,

The lion of Judah,

He’s roaring with power

And fighting our battles,

And every knee will bow before Him.

And our God is the lamb,

The lamb that was slain,

For the sin of the world

His blood breaks the chains,

And every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb,

Every knee will bow before Him!

It’s a beautiful reminder that for as long as the Lion of Judah is on your side, you are more than a conqueror, and you will conquer this season. The photo above served as a reminder of this for me, too. Driving this close to a lion in Tanzania was one of the most thrilling, petrifying, humbling, exciting experiences I have ever had. Our jeep had to stop as this lioness decided she wanted to cross the road about two metres in front of us, looking us dead in the eyes the whole time! Take it from me, having looked a lion dead in the face: when a lion is looking you in your face, with an expression that says, ‘don’t try me, boo. We both know who’ll win this fight,’ you won’t even think about messing with him or anyone on his side!

As His children, that’s exactly the protection we have when God, the Lion of Judah, stands beside us in our battles. In fact, He goes before us, fighting before we’ve even reached the battlefield. Nothing can touch you. And anything you’re facing right now is moulding you and refining you into pure gold; you can’t be pure gold without going through the refining fire. Studying the book of Job a little while back, I came across Job 23:10, which has now become my mantra for getting through those dark seasons. Job, in the midst of his darkest season, holds on to God saying, ‘But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ If you’re in a dark place right now, that could be the verse that gets you through this season. Hold onto His Word and His promises and your sure knowledge of His love for you, because these never fail. And I’ve found that, as we conquer more and more battles, and as He teaches and moulds us through each storm and each victory, we begin to learn that walking beside Him, the Lion, is truly a privilege and the adventure of a lifetime.

And so, looking back on what seemed at the time like the ride of my life  — the most turbulent, dark, testing rollercoaster season I have ever faced and which He brought me through — I see now in retrospect that that season was never, ever going to be the be all and end all of my adventure story. Indeed, the ride of your life, the dark season you might be in now, will simply amount to one chapter, an episode of trial and beautiful triumph, in the wider adventure story of your lifetime spent in God’s unfailing and unconquerable love.

Be encouraged, boo. Light is at the end of the tunnel and it is coming.

Love always,

Imani x

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