FLORENCE WANYONYI: From Brokenness to an Expression of God’s Love
It really is a pleasure to share this story with you, the story of a life so evidently touched and beautified by God. What’s more is that her joy and faith are so palpable, despite what have been many challenges and trying times and seasons. As a result, Florence Wanyonyi’s steadfastness in what she has believed gives one so much strength, as you will soon see for yourself.
Who is Florence Wanyonyi?
The most important thing that I can say about myself is that I am the daughter of the Most High God and that God is my Best Friend. That is the one thing that truly describes me to this day and everything else comes completely secondary. Beyond being a child of God, I am a mother, an Entrepreneur in the Forex industry, a motivational speaker and also an upcoming author.
How did you come to your journey of faith?
My journey of faith came to me as a surprise, in August of 2007, through Ellen Mensah; an incredible lady whom I consider my Heaven-sent Angel. She was born in Ghana, but lives in the United States with her family. I was in such a broken state then, as I had lost my mother and husband within a span of three months in 2006, so no matter what I did, I was in such pain and didn’t know how to face life and move forward. It was then that Ms Ellen constantly talked to me about the love of God every time we bumped into each other in the hallways of our work premises. As she relentlessly talked about God’s love, I couldn’t understand how a loving God would allow me to go through all that turmoil at a fairly young age, but her persistence wore me out and I finally caved and accepted her invitation to attend a church service at the Gates of Glory Church in Dallas, Texas. That Monday night service was peculiar because the words that came out of the preacher’s mouth healed something within me and left me yearning for more; and that’s how I was introduced to an incredible prophet; Pastor Howard Richardson. He spoke prophetic words about my past and future, and I was left dumbfounded, wondering how a human being could know so many personal things about me that I had never shared with anyone. I remember crying out to God that night on my way home from the service saying “God if you are real, save me, for I don’t know what to do or where to begin”. Two weeks after that prayer, I had a powerful visitation in a dream where I saw Jesus, the Son of God; He came to me with two Angels and touched me. Since then, I felt quite light and hopeful; cementing my belief and understanding that I had been accepted by Heaven. My relationship with God, whom I fondly call Dad, has evolved beautifully to this moment.
You are a single mom, would you mind sharing a little bit about that journey?
My husband transitioned in 2006, after only six years of marriage. That was a very surprising thing to me, because I think when you’re young and you get married, you don’t think about loss, you just think about starting a new life, which will mature into old age. When he left us, I found myself single with a daughter to raise. At the time, I had left my daughter in Kenya with my husband as I pursued my studies in the United States, so when news came that he was no more, my heart broke for my daughter, knowing how close she was to her father. I got on a flight to Kenya immediately, just to hold her in my arms and comfort her and so we could start figuring out life together. Her father was gone, so I had to do my best to be there for her; to put her needs above education or career during that trying time and thereafter.
I can say one thing though, that when something happens in your life, even such as loss, God is going to be there for you, whether you understand it or not and whether you believe it or not. Within a year of losing my husband, I started connecting with God and He gave me an understanding of counting on Him and leaning on Him. The scripture, Psalm 68:5, really made a difference. Every time I needed something from God, I would call on Him and I would remember His words saying “He is a Father of the fatherless and a judge to the widows”. His words kept me alive and I eventually learnt how to count on Him, knowing that He could help me and my daughter; and indeed over the years, we have made it, together. So, being single doesn’t mean you are alone but that God is your invisible and powerful friend.
What sorts of challenges have you faced in being a single mom, personally and from society?
The biggest thing was, as time evolved and my daughter grew up, I realized that sometimes it could be very exhausting being the person who made all the decisions about her life and also about my life. Sometimes I would cry out to God and say, “Oh God, this is difficult!” Actually in those years from 2007 to 2009, I used to feel like I really needed someone to be there for me, probably a relationship, so that I could be able to offload some of that pressure… but eventually God gave me a lot of peace, instead of a relationship. When I started understanding the love of God, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that I could count on Him as He would always find a way to help me through the different situations we faced. When kids grow, they grow through different stages and those changes can be challenging and that’s when I used to feel that exhaustion and sometimes frustration, but God helps me to overcome my mind so that I can be a better mother.
Society sometimes doesn’t treat you so kindly when you’re single, and especially from the feminine aspect. They feel like, ‘Why are you alone? Why are you not with someone?’ so there’s that pressure. Meanwhile I’m thinking in my mind, ‘When God is not ready for you to be with anyone because maybe you’ll just be a Mrs. somewhere and yet you’re suffering, but He wants you to have the best?’ I remember actually getting a prophecy way back then from Pastor Richardson and he said, “God wants you to wait on Him, even if it takes 10 years, just wait.” At first I was a bit frustrated by that word because I was like, “Oh my God, how can I be alone for all that time? It doesn’t even make sense!” I didn’t believe it, but guess what? When God speaks, you better count on Him that He’s not a man that He would lie. He can make you wait for something for a very long time, according to humans, but according to Him, time is nothing, it will come and it will go.
Over the years I’ve learnt the most incredible thing, God wants you to learn the power of loving yourself, before you love someone else. You have to know who you are, so that when the right time comes all will work out. So, yes, there are challenges in society, but it’s awesome how you can start to understand that you’re whole and you’re complete in God and that anyone else that joins your life is just a complement.
Now that I have learnt the love of God, if someone makes me feel less than, just because I don’t have a ring on my finger, I feel sorry for them in a way, because it means probably they have not known how to love themselves the way God loves them or to see themselves as complete and whole in the presence of God and so I don’t take it personally anymore with anyone who feels that way about me; I just love them through and through and I know they just don’t have the understanding, and it’s okay because it’ll come at the right time.
What is the one thing you would love young men and women who find themselves where you were to know and to consider?
I would say to them and not just young men and women, because sometimes you can even be widowed in your later years; the love of God will help you overcome all things. Initially, it’s not easy, I can attest to that, but with time and especially if God is your Friend, and you know that you have this thing called salvation, then definitely you’ll be able to overcome. His love will overshadow you, the presence of God, the Holy Spirit will always be there, count on Him to be there 24/7 and also get in His Word. I love Psalm 91:1 “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
You cannot go wrong with God, I assure you. Yes, the days might look like nights and there might be a lot of darkness during that day, but I assure you that eventually, you’re going to make it. You’ll just see the light come through at the time when you’re feeling like giving up; He will definitely come through for you. I’ve also leaned on Proverbs a lot, chapter 3 verses 4- 5, “lean not on your own understanding… trust in the Lord with all your heart!” Even if you don’t know how to trust, just speak the words, remember that’s why we’re given the word of God in the Bible, speak it and eventually you will feel it. It will become good and clear for you.
Finally, don’t fear. God says He’s not given you a spirit of fear. Initially I remember when I felt that loss, the loss of a husband and the loss of my parents, I used to fear so much. I was like, “Ok, Flo, so how else am I going to go forward?” Remember; counting on a human being can only be limited but counting on God, that is where everything is, that is where Life is, so fear not. Let the past be the past and the future is going to be so bright and so beautiful. He has angels just waiting to serve you, to support you and these angels could be anyone, they are in the form of human beings, other people on this earth that are so anointed and God has appointed them specifically for you. They might not be many but they are there; 1, 2 or 3, and that’s all you need. They are going to support you, to help you to overcome the fear, overcome the brokenness. You don’t have to keep reminding God how broken you are, because He is a God of healing and He’s just waiting for your life to become a story.
Amen. How old were you when your parents died and how did you deal with that journey of healing?
Mom passed on when I was 29; and dad when I was 38. Mom’s loss hit me harder, because I had not known God then (2006) so I scrambled through darkness longer. I cried and I was angry and it took me 3 years to believe that I could live without her. But by the time Dad left this world, I was saved and stronger in God and actually helped him come to salvation a month before he took his last breath. I am so happy and grateful to know that my father is in Heaven with God.
Over the years I’ve learnt the most incredibleFlo Wanyonyi
thing, God wants you to learn the power of
loving yourself, before you love someone else.
You have to know who you are, so that when
the right time comes all will work out
Do you have any siblings or any kind of family support?
I am the first born of 9 children, so you can imagine, we are many (laughs).The beautiful thing is that my siblings are quite humble and have dedicated their lives to God, so we all get along and give each other a lot of peace. But there’s one, Dorcas, who from childhood has been my Angel, best friend, prayer partner and pillar.
That’s so beautiful. How do you balance motherhood and work?
Truly, we count on God. If there’s one thing I’m grateful for, it is that when I met God way back in 2007, I learnt how to incorporate my daughter in everything spiritual that I did. She is very aware of the love of God and the presence of God. We do everything together, we talk so much and we’re very close in terms of discussing the things that are going on in our lives, even when I’m not around her. Right now she’s a big girl, she’s 20 years old and she’s in campus. When she’s in school and I’m at home, we just have a way of keeping in touch in terms of talking on the phone all the time and updating each other on what’s happening in the spiritual realm, and because we both love God so much, it’s easy. We always know who to turn to. I’ve taught her that instead of consulting me first, she should go to God first, asking in prayer, to let direction come directly from Heaven and allow me to be a secondary beneficiary to her conversations with God.
You lived in the US with your daughter for some time, were you able to finish your studies at all eventually or was every strength focused on her?
I am absolutely grateful to God that even after fighting the odds of poverty and landing in America with nothing to my name; and overcoming the loss of loved ones, I eventually graduated in several colleges and I have a Bachelors’ degree in Nursing; so yes, I found a way of balancing motherhood, education and career.
Why did you come back to Kenya in the end and what has that transition been like?
Quite honestly, I may never have been in a hurry to come back home, but having a student visa meant that I had to honor my obligation and return to my home country once I attained my degree. After my husband’s passing, I was in such emotional turmoil and I couldn’t balance my life. That meant that I missed some classes and it impacted negatively on my visa. Instead of facing deportation, I chose to return and put my worthwhile degree to good use. I also thought it’d be a plus to be back home and to be near my then ailing father and also to support a local school program that had been engineered by my family.
The transition was a nightmare, oh my goodness, it was painful. The hopes, thoughts and expectations that had become bleak overnight, especially beginning with my finances. I know I can’t compare and contrast the economies of two different countries, but I went from earning USD 65,000USD to USD 6,500 annually. I started crashing economically and eventually fell to ground zero. You’re welcome to read my book for the rest of the details (laughs).
Yes, of course, you are soon releasing a book on your journey, tell us about that.
I’m so happy and grateful to share that God’s story, God’s journey, God’s saving grace has finally come together and through the years, from 2007 until today, the things that He has allowed me to go through have now become a story. My book is called “Rise and Shine: It’s Time! My journey of brokenness and healing.” I’m excited to talk about how I fell, how I’ve risen through poverty, through gains; how I’ve overcome the loss of my parents and husband, how my lifestyle at one point completely crashed and about trusting God through all that and even sharing about my ministry. I’ve never gone to Bible school; all that I know about God is by the power of the Holy Spirit. All this is simply because God was ready for me in 2007 and when I found Him and knew there was something greater than everything in this world, I was willing to follow Him. By following Him, He’s taught me a lot by His Holy Ghost and so we have put together a story and I can’t wait for you to read it and be blessed as much as I have been.
Are these experiences what led you to become a motivational speaker?
Actually, this came to me as a surprise, because I realized that the more I knew God and the more I kept my relationship alive with the Holy Spirit and shared with the people around me; how they felt is what made me get inspired. I would even be going through my own challenges, but would always find a way of pouring out to others. It’s amazing to see this light, joy, satisfaction and healing in others. That happy feeling that I get is what made me say, “God, I may not be the master at much, but I will share what is in my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit to the few people who are appointed for my life”. So yes, it’s a God journey, it’s not really mine, because I grew up not really knowing God, but His grace showed up when I was in my late 20s and changed everything.
I recently heard you speak about gratitude from such a place of passion. Why is it so important to you and why should one strive to be grateful? How do you maintain that posture even in trying times?
Oh yes, the attitude of gratitude has become my daily bread. It’s basically acknowledging God and fellow humans for every blessing that’s extended towards me. That removes the feeling of entitlement and keeps one grounded in humility. On that note, I give thanks to God for you Chioma and your husband, Samuel, for allowing me to share my story on this platform.
Until you lack, you may not value plenty. Only when you find yourself admitted in a dilapidated hospital will you look up and give gratitude for perfect health. Only when you are pounded by heavy rains and fall in muddy waters, will you know the value and power of a private car; and only when you bury the dead, will you know the value and power of every breath. I was raised in poverty and eventually enjoyed abundance, especially in the US, but on my return to Kenya, I fell to ground zero. All those changes in between have brought me so close to God and have taught me to give gratitude for every saving move He makes on my behalf. When you appreciate the small things, He shall trust and reward you with plenty. Even when situations are not looking up, give thanks anyway so yes; even in trying times, He’s God and He’s faithful, just trust Him. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numbers 23:19 (KJV)
In a world where many are saying that there is no God, why would you say that God is real? Is the walk of faith worth the time?
Well, I don’t know how to convince anyone about the presence and the power of this great God, but I can say this, He is as real as it gets. I Am that I Am… He just is. It takes faith to believe in God. Yes, you can’t see Him with your physical eyes, but I can assure you, the spirit that is within you one day is going to be so alive that you’re going to know that you know that He is.
The world is in a place of uncertainty right now, but I can assure you, it’s just a season. Under the sun there is a time, there is a season for everything. Ecclesiastes 3 talks about the different seasons, so when God allows change to come into our lives, and when that contrast happens for us; be comforted that it’ll pass.
I mean look around you, the sun, moon, stars, wind, human beings… aren’t they glorious enough for us to have faith that human beings and the elements of the earth were created by a higher being or Holy God? And there’s more; He has given us power to co-create; by speaking life into our own situations, on a daily, weekly, minute by minute basis. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
Thank you so much, Flo, for sharing your story with us and with our family of readers in Afrika and beyond. We too are so grateful.