• Ashy Akakpo

2021.. You Still There?

2021. What a year it has been. I usually upload a yearly review on my channel around this time of year, where I’d outline all my favourite parts of the year and reflect on the not-so-great parts of the year. This year however, I didn’t think a video would do this interesting year justice.


Every year, I notice there is always a specific theme that reigns throughout the year. In 2020 it was ‘love’ and in 2021, this year it was ‘trust’. More so, trusting God because boy was my faith tested. I feel like, 2020 was when God caused me to draw closer to Him and really dive into scripture and find my first love again – Him. As well as my love for teaching and preaching the whole gospel. But it was 2021, when all I thought had become solidified was firmly tested.


Many people tell me, my life is the equivalent to a movie and honestly – they're not wrong. I mean, here I was thinking I had got everything sorted. Although the year before was quite bumpy, I figured 2021 was going to be a walk in the park. So, here I was January 1st 2021, thinking ‘Meh. There won’t be any more surprises. Right?’ The irony.


The year started with the unexpected death of a close friend from church, then another death, then I found myself wanting to be part of a group of ‘believers’ (due to a heightened case of curiosity – but oh boy did curiosity really kill that cat). Then came the unnecessary drama. Oversharing to someone I considered a friend and a believer but only having my trust broken and my words twisted, then the falling out with someone I considered to be a really good friend without any explanation. Next – being ambushed, threatened and bullied in an open public space, by the same group I had been curious about. Turns out they weren’t too fond of me that much. My ex-employer then ended up stealing my wages. My grandma suddenly fell sick and then passed away and exactly one week after her funeral – I lost my grandpa.


I found myself asking God, why? The one year I devoted to serving Him, was one of the worse years I’ve ever had in a very long time.


Sure, it wasn’t all bad. I made genuinely amazing friends, saw one of my close friends give his life to Jesus, got given my very own radio show, finally got the answers I wanted regarding myself, one of my songs got used as a theme song for a week-long event and of course – responded to the call and launched my very own ministry ‘The Awake Ministries’. So, yes – not all bad.


But still, everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I thought my mental health was bad last year – this year – things took a turn for the worse. Fast. So uh, safe to say, this year wasn’t the best year. But ‘trust’, where does that theme come in? Well. With everything that’s happened, looking back now I can see God’s hand. You know the book of Esther... not once was God’s name ever actually mentioned but His hand is clearly seen and so is His plan. Let me explain.


You know the story. Esther finds herself in the palace of the King, waiting to see if she would be chosen to be Queen and low and behold – she was. Quite suddenly after this, her people's life becomes threatened by the man, Haman. In order to save her people from his bitterness and rage, she had to risk her life and go before the King unannouced and unsummoned. She succeeded in finding favour with the King and after a banquet revealed the true intentions of Haman and as a result, saves her people.


Now, not once do we see God physically making Himself known, neither do we see His name ever being mentioned in the book. But what we do see, is His hand at work.


The same can be said with my story.


Last year, God taught me the true meaning of love. The unconditional type, the kind of love that does not diminish no matter how hard you try to run from it. See, last year I thought I’d found love – was pretty certain of it actually. Then, I got my heart broken, but I still held on to that fantasy, that the love I thought was real would prevail against all odds. So, God had to shake me awake and show me the only love I should be focused on, is the love He provides. That unconditional love. That lesson helped me quite a lot this year.


So, when it came to 2021, God showed me that even when I can’t see His plan, even when I can’t feel His hand – He will always be there to pick me up, dust me down and bandage my wounds. Looking back now, everything I endured, the backstabbing, the name calling, the lies and the hurt, all in all – I have come out stronger. Sure, it took some work, but I am not the timid, people-pleasing woman I was at the start of the year. I had to be broken down for God to really remould me and boy did I break. I just like Jacob, came out limping.


With every dark turn, it was as if God whispered through the darkness, ‘do you still trust me?’ When I cried, cradling myself, feeling the loneliest I’ve ever felt – so lonely it hurt He whispered through the darkness, ‘do you still trust me?’


It is so hard to trust God with our own strength when we can’t trace His hand or see His plan, but God had to make me realise that I must seek HIS strength, not my own. Yes, there were times I felt like I was drowning but my God reminds me, that even when I go through the waters – He’ll be there. I won’t have to go through it alone. And boy was that made evident to me.


All I know is that last year I was in the valley, this year I was headfirst in a ditch – but by God’s grace and if He wills it – next year – I’ll be making my way to the mountain top.



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