Monday, 24 December 2012

Accidental Single Mum

So I heard this girl on the bus ranting about how Nigerian girls have imbibed so much of Western culture that single motherhood is now an accepted way of life. She was obviously from Nigeria as I could recognise that heavy Edo accent anywhere. I didn't mind her venting her opinion but her voice was so loud that other people in the bus were turning to see who this "public speaker" was. Her partner became embarrassed as I noticed the gentle nudge he gave her to lower her voice. But there was no getting her to lower her voice or even shush. I wonder who or what had her riled up! From her one sided conversation I guessed she wasn't a mother or a single mother at that-good for her!. More so everyone is entitled to their opinion including my opinionated unknown and unappreciated co passenger.
The issue of single parenthood is still very much controversial in developing countries including Nigeria. A woman with a child and no obvious wedding ring on her finger still gets the occasional odd stare from strangers, family members inclusive. I remember back in the Eighties, a girl who comes home to tell her parent she's been knocked up gets the beating of her life. Some were forced into marriages they were not ready for or even made to terminate the "unwanted pregnancy". However, these scenarios are not unlike what was obtainable in developed countries such as Britain and parts of Europe as well. Some of these "unfortunate women were put away for their "own good" and the babies given away most times never to be seen again. "Everyone" comes out smiling and the family image salvaged. For most of these "unfortunate" girls, the men are nowhere to be found. Most bail out on the pregnant girls leaving them to fend for the fruit of their love "alone". As far as I know, most women don't want to be single parents at least speaking from the perspective of an unmarried mother. Being a single mother is hard work. "Five of you will chase a hundred, a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. Leviticus 26:8.. The bible celebrates team work and its benefits. It is easier for two to arrive at success and its less tedious compared to one person doing all the work. We all want the trappings of marriage at least I did and still do. Even most married couples who eventually break up never envisaged single parenting at the start of the relationship. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in circumstances we never expected so we learn to make lemonade from lemons. The lady that washed the feet of Jesus may have been an accidental prostitute but Jesus was not concerned with how she found herself in that condition, he was more pleased that she was right at his feet seeking a better path. The Pharisee in whose house the events took place on the other hand was unforgiving and self-righteous. I love Jesus's response to the Pharisee’s attitude. "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little " Many of us are like that - self-righteous and unforgiving also quick to judge. In being so right like the Pharisee, we have become SO WRONG. So my dear young lady, be slow to judge since you may not be privy to the whole story that may have led an enterprising young lady into becoming a single mother. I believe any woman that chooses to give life to an unwanted pregnancy should be encouraged not vilified. This is not in any way supporting pre-marital sex but two wrongs never make a right. I'm pro-life anytime. Learn to love, empathise don't judge....IT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU.
photo curtesy www.lavistachurchofchrist.org www.topnews.in

Sunday, 23 December 2012

I want MORE

Most of the time, I'm a good and well behaved sister . I don't look for trouble and try to stir clear off trouble makers. The major reason is despite my *Herculean looks, Jackie Chan stance and bad ass kung Fu moves*, I'm all mouth and no action! Seriously, I've got the moves in my head but can't seem to translate them into action! But right now I'm protesting! You see, I was driving to church and saw my neighbour washing the wife's car. So what? You may ask. He was washing the car in the blistering cold that's why! Any man can wash the partner's car but only a true lover would stand in the cold and wash the partner's car for the simple reason that he doesn't want her "tarnishing" the family image by driving around in a dirty car. My neighbour’s wife and I had met at the car wash yesterday but we both couldn’t wait because of the long queue. It seemed the whole Athy had turned up at this particular car wash to have their vehicles valeted in time for Christmas. So we left the valet place with extremely dirty cars and planned to return early Monday morning so as to beat the rush. Sadly but without a choice, I returned home. My car is so dirty you would assume I'd been in a mud race! I've been driving the car with a cap almost hiding my face-don't want anyone noticing me in the car that is screaming "if you love me, kindly wash me".
*sigh* so imagine my green eyed feeling when I sighted my neighbour's husband washing her car. I wish I had someone to wash my car especially in the blistering cold. I've been single and very content for the past 6 years. In fact, I've practically evolved into a she-man. I do miss not being in a relationship but I don't allow that to cloud my day or rub me off enjoying life. Most of my friends are happily married and I sometimes crave the companionship that a wholesome relationship gives. I of all people know that there is only so much a single mother can do without much assistance. The work and challenges meant for two people being handled by one....but in all GOD HAS BEEN FAITHFUL. Christmas and its attending festivities have also heightened my desire to be married. Everywhere I turn, you see families and couples buying gifts and exchanging secret smiles and kisses. Indeed, It’s a season to love and be loved after all Christmas is about FAMILY (if I feel this way at Christmas, let’s not even mention Valentine’s Day. Well, I've decided not worry about that because it’s in the future and God is in control of the future."Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Mathew 6:34 . Now you understand why I'm protesting. This afternoon I discovered its ok to protest and crave for more. Wikipedia, the online dictionary describes a protest as " an expression of objection, by words or by actions, to particular events, policies or situations. Jacob carried out some sort of protest in the bible. Gen 32 recounts the story of how he wrestled with an angel on his way to Canaan. After an all-night battle, as the angel wanted to leave, Jacob protested not minding the serious injury that had been inflicted on him "Then the man said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!" But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." Gen 32:26. Jacob realised his material wealth and possession were nothing without the blessings of God. He got tired of the struggles and deceit hence he craved more. That's not a bad thing is it? Right now, I’m tired of doing it alone (sleeping alone, planning alone etc.) so I’ve embarked on my own form of protest to challenge my single status. I don't have a placard but I've got my dirty car so I hereby declare that "I will not wash my car until I marry". If a protest was good enough for Jacob then it’s good enough for me!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Perfectly Normal

"Sit down Joshua", I screamed. "Don't make me come after you", I continued, straining to grab him as he made a dash for the stairs . Next I knew he was bouncing and jumping on the bed. "Nevermind, I told myself and gave up the chase. Josh could go on and on running round in circles, bouncing on the chair, barely sitting for the whole day. Its enough to drive any sane person mad. I imagined his hyperactivity is related to autism or aren't little boys meant to be quiet? WRONG!!!. I don't have any experience with little children except the one I've garnered from being Joshua's mum which isn't much I presume. I have this belief that Joshua has to behave in a certain kind of way. you know cool calm and collected, prim and proper, gentlemanly etc. So any bad behaviour outside this "picture in my head" must be a feature of autism. Imagine my surprise when a friend's son practically drove the mother nuts at a church event. The poor woman was at her wits end with absolutely no clue on what to do and how to get him to behave. David is a perfectly normal six year old boy without any known health challenge or was I missing out on something. I realised I was! Joshua has been displaying perfectly normal behaviour all along. Boys will be boys. They climb, jump and make a mess,its what little kids do. However, this does not excuse bad behaviour. All this while,I had allowed the doctor's diagnoses to rub me off the joy of enjoying my son and his boyish antics. I had allowed my perspective on "NORMAL" be clouded. I had allowed the label "AUTISM" be linked to my son. Lesson learnt! never allow the facts of a given situation to rub you off the truth of God's word. The fact is Josh has this health challenge but THE TRUTH is "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" James 1:17. Josh is a gift from God therefore he is PERFECTLY NORMAL. Challenges and storms are perfectly normal in our ever changing world but we decide whether to stress, fret, wail and lament in the storm or enjoy the ride and trust God no matter how painful the experience might be. Moreover, Jesus never promised a trouble free ride. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. I have not had a job since college and was initially very bothered but not anymore. In the wake of the economic recession a lot of people are unemployed but some groups are still making money....very much indeed. So instead of dwelling on the recession I've sought ways to develop and improve myself. I choose to believe that ITS ALL GOOD despite the "famine". The truth is, its not about how terrrible the situation is but your perspective of God in that situation. So your perspective matters! Maybe like me, you are having a rough time and think there is something wrong with you. Hold that thought! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Instead of leaning on your limited understanding, trust God and remember you are not alone. There are many people going through similar tough situations like you. After watching that woman and her son, I realised its all good with Joshua. So go on darling, jump some more but don't break my bed!!!.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Laughing out loud.......The Grace Factor

"lololool....” I chuckled as I watched the choir struggle to learn the song for Sunday's ministration. Sister Temilola looked so serious with a hint of a twinkle in her eyes knowing she had missed her lines. As for the younger ones-they were lost in the drama of the song yet enjoying every moment of the rehearsals. "lololololo"....This time around, I couldn't control myself but burst into unbridled laughter. wow! How did I find myself here? How did I find myself in the midst of a motley crew of people with no singing experience whatsoever! None of us could hold a musical note even if our lives depended on it. I was not only a member of this motley crew but also the queen of the crew (yeah, you heard that right...lol). but seriously, someone has a lot of explaining to do. Someone who can't sing, leading a group of people who can’t sing professionally, think of a well cut-out job for a novice(custom made wahala). My friends in Nigeria laugh their heads off when I tell them I'm in the Choir. "who put you there? they ask and have a good laugh at my expense. (no be una fault...yeye people. Lol). I tend to ask myself that question too. This piece is being written by a girl who was practically chased out of the choir in Nigeria because I couldn't sing. The first time was in the university. My group in the church had decided to render a Christmas carol as part of events marking the end of year celebrations. After hearing my voice, the head of the group did not have the heart to drop my part but managed to squeeze in a space for my special singing abilities. (My very good friend consoled me with the assurance that at least I looked good on camera) The second time around, the lady in charge held nothing back and told me "Gladys, you’re better off not singing at all but later allowed me to sing the YAH in HALLELUYAH. (wicked Tunwashe...lol). After that, I gave up the my vision of being Nigeria's own Celine Dion.*sigh* I joined the choir in Ireland as a result of a series of unfortunate incidents. The church had split and very few members were left. I noticed a niche in the choir and decided to join and help out. Your guess is as good as mine, they had no choice but to accept me..lol! I later told God that If I had to do this then I had to do it right. I prayed for the grace to sing and here we are today. I still don't know much about singing but I do know about "God's grace to help". Same with my crew. I work with a group of people who are not perfect by the world's standard but are ready and willing to sing the praise of their God. And that's the heart God is seeking. John 4:23 "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks". The world has certain rules and guides on how things are done and what qualifies people for certain positions but IT IS GRACE THAT QAULIFIES not any special qualification or abilities. The Samaritan woman in John 4 had lived her life weighed down by where and how one ought to worship until she meet Jesus (what a relief she would have felt. No more climbing the mountain or travelling up to Jerusalem to worship) Unfortunately most Christians are still bound by rules, rules, and more rules. Imagine the shock experienced by so called learned folks when Peter and John faced them in the temple proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. They acknowledged that the two disciples were simple men ordinary *bloody Fishermen*( for good measures). When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus . Peter and Job were not qualified to address the Sanhedrin but Grace showed them up (in your face Sanhedrin people...that's how we roll in Jesus). 1Cor 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong Ever wondered why certain people seem to do something so well without the apparent no-how? It’s simply the GRACE FACTOR. I've got friends in ministry even in everyday businesses who find themselves doing what they are doing and doing it well nonetheless. No Masters or PHD but a heart that pants after God. My crew and I have a LOOOOOONG way to go but appreciate God for choosing and using us anyways. We've gone for ministerations in other churches that God showed up not because of our singing proweress but "FOR HIS GREAT NAME SAKE". How AWESOME. Amazing things do happen when a heart is yielded and trusting in God The following day's service was HILARIOUS!!!. Of course, I forgot the lyrics of the song, sang off key but danced through it all. God loves me still and I'll keep singing to His glory. Go on, have a good laugh at my expense. God really does have a sense of humour.lololol

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Humpty Dumpty had A GREAT FALL

I grimaced as a sharp pain shot through my elbows. I tried desperately to stem my fall with my hands as I tumbled down the stairs. For a split second, I thought my head would hit the bottom last stairs before I plunged into darkness. Thank God, I caught myself just in the nick of time. Gently, I lifted my bruised body and sat down. I hurt all over and my hands felt as if it had been mauled by a mountain bear. “Nothing broken, thank goodness! I exclaimed in the pitch dark. I’d woken up to the sound of my alarm but realised it was not at its usual place at my bedside. Rather the annoying sound was coming from my phone which I’d forgotten downstairs. Sleepily, I FELT for the stairs. Stupidly, I didn’t switch on the light as I didn’t want to wake Joshua. He was deeply asleep and I didn’t want him to wake up that early because it was a Saturday. Next thing I know, this lil missy was rolling down the stairs. Not switching on the light at the time seemed like a very good idea. I have lived in my house for the past four years and was VERY familiar with its every nook and cranny. Manoeuvring a couple of stairs in the dark should be a piece of cake- It was anyway till I found myself at the bottom of the stairs with more than a bruised ego.
What was I thinking? What if I’d been seriously hurt or God forbid broken my neck? Poor Josh would have woken up to see his mum hurting downstairs. The little darling would have assumed I was playing and may have joined me on the floor not understanding that mummy was badly hurt and needed help. How would he even call for help when he couldn’t talk? Thankfully, the scenario did not play out like my overactive imagination. My morning adventure reminds me of the mishaps that we sometimes get ourselves into, consequences of unfortunate dilemmas’ that would have been easily avoided if we’d only taken necessary precautions. The necessary precaution in my escapade was to SWITCH ON THE LIGHT. I read a fellow blogger’s pain on peoples’ attitude towards sex especially unprotected sex. (You should check it out-http://asitwasnotinthebeginning.wordpress.com/). Joie’s pain was further heightened being an HIV carrier herself. She knows the challenges and stigma associated with the illness and wonders why people would still deliberately jeopardise their lives for the pleasure of unprotected sex despite media campaigns and advocacies on the dangers of SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES AND NEED FOR PROTECTED SEX. Some people still express profound trust in their partners not to cheat on them or break their hearts but these things do happen. People change and trust gets broken (except in relationships where both partners fear God and abstain from premarital sex) The plus side of teaching in a youth ministry is that you have the opportunity to share some of your experiences with them-both the good and the bad sifted through the word of God. Ironically, most of them think they are in control and want to try everything…you know EXPERIMENT (blame that on youthful exuberance). But the truth is, most seemingly harmless fire do get out of control and can burn, maim and even kill. A young lady once boasted to me that she could control a romantic situation….Erm! You think? Even if you can, can you vouch for the other person? How many times have you heard or even spoken the word, “I thought I knew what I was doing” or even thought you knew the other person only to find yourself getting hurt”. I would have had a good laugh at the expense of anyone who would have dared to predict I’ll ever be a single mother. My baby's dad was the epitome of sweetness and love……how Ironic! I’ve learnt feelings cannot sustain a relationship because feelings change. Most divorced couples give INCOMPATIBILITY and IRRECONCILLIABLE DIFFERENCES as the major causes of marital breakups. One partner suddenly realising he or she did not really know the other. HOW SAD!!!.....but GOD IS CONSTANT. Mathew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away…..and that my friend is INFALLIBLE. God did not send HIS WORD to cramp our style rather to help us surmount challenges and navigate every life situation. You don’t have to fall flat on your face or get hurt before reaching out for help. Unlike Humpty if you’ve taken a rough tumble and had a great fall, HELP IS JUST A PRAYER AWAY AND GOD CAN PUT THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER AGAIN (pic curtesy http://karaloutopia.blogspot.ie)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Crossing Boundaries

What were you thinking Coco? Allowing a man that is not your husband nuzzle your neck in a sexually provocative way? Bad enough you put yourself in that position but having the picture posted on the public sphere? Ice has every right to be upset! I love Coco and Ice and was really disappointed when I saw those pictures. I don't approve of the work Coco does but I love her and I think she and Ice look cute together. Ice is obviously smitten with her. But she really did cross the line by cozing up to a man that is not her husband and allowing him plant kisses on her neck and cheeks. It is disrespectful to her husband even if it was a publicity stunt. There is no reason good enough to justify that picture. That's crossing the line babes! Every relationship has its boundaries. These boundaries exist for a purpose, to keep in or keep out. It will be downright inappropriate for a stranger to ask me about my sex life even If we've been introduced. I remember giving a pastor a dirty slap at age twelve when he deliberately brushed his hands against my breasts while admiring the golden buttons on my shirts. At that age I knew his action was inappropriate. My mum was appalled at my actions but I was in the situation and saw the man's dirty looks. if I could go back in time and was caught in that same situation, would I repeat my actions? fcourse I would and sneak in a killer punch for good measures! He crossed the lines and he got hit. Sometimes we butt into other peoples' business out of concern and we feel offended if the other party gently or rudely puts us back in our space. Some people trully take their personal spaces seriously and would do anything to protect it. I have a friend who's been engaged forever and she doesn't take it kindly if anyone wants to give a "friendly advice". so I've learnt to respect the boundaries she'd set up on her private life. Its simply not my business unless she invites me into it. As a single mother, I've set up boundaries to protect my son and I. Some men like to take advantage of single mothers because of their vulnerable positions feeding on the woman's emotional and physical needs. They pretend to love the woman's children and use that to get her. Its sad, but true. so I've learnt to be careful about who I let into my life, dont want my son having too many "uncles"..lol. Some think I'm too strict, that I've got too many rules. The truth is that my rules don't only keep unscrupulous characters out of my life but also keep me safe. Imagine a man coming to my house for the first time and suggesting he would love to spend the night? but why! because I'm single and live alone doesnt make me a loose woman!
Coco got a backlash for her behaviour from her husband and she deserved it. Ice T wrote via twitter to his errant wife "Don't get it twisted, I'm not happy about this s**t. Most of (the pictures) are disrespectful and in bad taste. She's made me look and feel like s**t. I say this on Twitter because there's no way to avoid the obvious misconduct of a married couple," ( though I dont approve of a twitter bashing as the appropriate corrective measure but you get my drift). Marriage has its boundaries that is why there are unwritten codes about expected behaviours from married couples. Though most of 21st century marriages confuse me but that's gist for another day. It is expected that both couples should be faithful to each other as well as protect and defend their relationship from external corrosive influences. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Eph 5:25 In Nigeria for instance, a married woman is expected to dress and behave in certain way as part of her marital status. That includes cutting off every ties with past relationships and covering most of her "wares". Though its for private display, It doesnt necessarilly mean she has to be a prude..lol Boundaries are necessary that's why the bible encourages us to put a check on our tongues. You dont just say anything because you've got a tongue or have what to say. Sometimes silence is the best retort you can give in a conversation going south. I have a younger sister that I sometimes feel goes way overboard in everything. she is such a blessing and I have to consciously reign myself in and not constantly butt into her business. Even as sisters we have boundaries that need to be respected no matter the intention. There is a consequence for every action either or good or bad. I hope Coco learns from her misaction and please Ice...forgive Coco. (pictures curtesy www.stylebistro.com)

My Help

I remember the first time I met *Simi*. It was at a church event and she'd offered to take me home as my ride to the program was still busy. Simi was a single parent beautiful and elegantly attired. She drove a lovely car and seemed to have it all. Trust me to be carried away by her blings. Imagine my surprise when she turned up at my doorstep the next day for a chat. During the usual "girl talk", she excused herself to make a call. Aproko that I was (still am), I heard her begging the person on the other end of the call for €50. "Please dear, give me the money I'm very broke and barely have fuel in my car and the kids don't have what to take to school", she kept pleading. This went on for over 30 minutes till her credit ran out. With a sigh, she sat at the dinning table with a defeated look. "Simi", I called. "please don't mind my eaves dropping. The person you've been begging for money is he your boyfriend? "No, he's not, but he's been seriously asking me out", she answered. "and you've been begging him for €50 for over 30 minutes and he did not even offer to help you with €20? I asked really amazed. "my sister wetin I go do", she asked almost teary eyed. "the financial burden is just too much". I offered to loan her the money as I couldnt bare to see a fellow sister in need. It didn't matter that I barely knew her. One common problem suffered by most single parents is in the area of FINANCES. Having to cope and sustain a family single-handedly can be financially crippling and stressfull to anybody.Electricity bills, road tax, insurance, groceries, house rent, family committments, bills bills! How does one cope without going off on a limb or compromising one's values. In my sujourn as a single parent, I've noticed that most men refuse to support their ex-wives or partners simply because the love has gone south between them even when children are involved. It is absolutely irresponsible of any man that does not live up to his resposibility as a father to his children no matter the story between him and their mum! Leaving these ladies in vulnerable situations and most resorting to whatever means to survive is simply unfair!. I know some that were abandoned and left to cope with huge debts and morgage to pay.
I woke up this morning trying to sort my monthly bills. I had to decide which bills needed urgent payment and those I could differ till next week. My roadtax is due for renewal and so is the electric bill. Despite this seemingly urgent needs, I still consider myself blessed. I have learnt to be prudent and not spend money on every whim that catches my fancy. This is called FINANCIAL WISDOM. Some women have this natural urge to compete with others.They have to drive the latest car, carry the latest bag, use expensive perfumes and wear designer outfits. These things in themselves are not bad if you can afford them but not at the expense of your family or having to borrow or sleep around to maintain an outlandish lifestyle. You can still look good on a budget ask Gok Kwan(He's my favourite fashion stylist). I have learnt to balance my finances, pay my bills on time and still save for the rainy day. I've purposed not to compromise my virtues for whatever reason. GOD WILL MAKE A WAY. I don't know how or when but I KNOW HE WILL. I am also blessed to live in a society where the government supports its citizen no matter how small the support is(at all at all na im bad pass). In the early days of my pregnancy when I was alone and traumatised by rejection, my greatest worry was how to cope with a child when I could barely look after myself. God reassured me in Isaiah 54 and I've held strongly to those promises. "For your Maker is your husband,the Lord Almighty is his name" vrs 5. Since then, God has been my husband satisfying every financial and emotional need so I don't have to beg or compromise myself. He can also help you find that balance if you'll only let Him. Society will fail, man will disappoint but I've found God to be an "ever present help in times of trouble". David was forgotten by his own father but God remembered him and promoted him from an ordinary shepard to a King. How awesome! Feeling lonely, abandoned and rejected? God can Help! Its His business to help.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

MONSTER TO MUM

"Hello, is that Joshua's mum?", the strange voice on the phone asked. It was the nice lady from my son's school. My heart pounded in my chest and I wondered what it could be this time. The past few days had been stressful.The daily reports on his school journal had been full of one complain or the other and I had literarilly had it up to my neck and didnt think I could take one more negative report. It was what I feared and worse! Joshua required urgent occupational and speech therapy which the school could not provide because it did not have access to such services. Sad isn't it? A special needs class not having vital support services because of bottlenecks in the Irish Health Services. More like lack of proper planning and execution of relevant necessary programms by the HSE.Heartbreaking!. After dropping the call with Joshy's teacher, my initial reaction was to wrap myself in a ball and cry my heart out but I didn't. No more tears from this lady. Crying helps relieve built up emotional pain but does not provide long time solution to any problem. I did what I'm learning to do in any troubling situation-TURN TO GOD. "lord", I prayed. "you heard what the lady said. Josh has speech and occupational needs. the teachers are at a loss on what to do and I don't know what to do as well". Phil 4:19 ,But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus . Only you can supply joshy's need and I trust you have". I wish I could say that after the prayers, the situation immediately disappeared. It didn't but my perspective changed. I was no longer weighed down but rather relieved! The system is limited and and can only give "this much" help. They are humans afterall and run by less than perfect humans!. The past years as Joshua's mum have been the most challenging in my life. I could handle being pregnant and alone but never bargained for autism. Do I regret the choices I made? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Though I gave up some seemingly "important" positions and opportunities at the time to have a baby, I now realise no amount of money or freedom can compare with the joy of those tiny hands wrapping themselves around me and those slushy kisses. In the early days of his diagnoses, I was understandably angry and blamed the lil lad for everything and even blamed myself. Ofcourse, the devil fed my bitterness afterall "he is the accuser of the brethen. I contantly rapped myself on the head thinking my son was "broken" because I was "broken" too! "why, why why me? I asked no one in particular but quickly learnt that beating myself up would not yield any positive result. I had to deal with the situation at hand. I've had to deal with shame and pity. I remember the times, I feared taking him out to the Mall worrying that he might throw a tantrum or let go of my hand and grab a stranger. Or the pity looks you get from parents who understood or weird looks from people who assume your child is plain unrully. How many people will you explain or apologise to? With time, that haze of bitterness and anger was removed and I now see better. As a single mum there are always challenges that are made even more challenging with a special needs child but those little hiccups are small compared with the joys of motherhood. I've had to face rejection from men who bail out the moment they realise your child's condition despite their initial profession of love(wetin eye never see). Nonetheless, in all GOD IS FAITHFUL. I admit there is still so much work to do but I celebrate every milestone we've achieved together. Joshy hasn't said any clear sound but he understands everything I say. He is also a delight to have in the kitchen probably because He knows my being in the kitchen means something yummy will emerge...lol.
Having a child has taught me how to be responsible and less selfish with my time, desires and resources.(I even learnt to bake...nothing much I admit just sausage roll but I tried..lol). His comfort tops my every agenda and I don't mind that anymore. Every child deserves to be loved and appreciated no matter the challenge or circumstances surrounding the birth. I've learnt there is more to life than a career no matter how beautiful it might seem. Though it is possible to have it all but my order of priority has changed Moreover,Autism is not a death sentence and I KNOW God will perfect the healing work that Christ died for in the life of my son. HE IS FAITHFUL TO HIS WORDS. Because of you Joshy, I'm a better person. I applaud you for turning this monster into a MOTHER. You make my life so beautiful. I hear the school bus. My baby is home.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Looking Up.

Happy new month all. 2012 has been a fantastic year for me and I'm so appreciative. It has not been entirely drama free but in the midst of all my challenges, I've learnt a lot. I have discovered more of my weaknesses, some behaviours and attitudes that I never imagined were dormant in me or that I had at all. Above all, I have discovered how strong I really am. Seriously, you never know who you really are untill you are faced with a never before experienced challenge. Most importantly, my challenges never overwhelmed me even when I faltered emotionally, I always come out smiling having learnt a lesson or two from the situation. I'm learning to deal with my anger issues. Yep, anger and bitterness over my past. It's so easy telling one to let go of the past but when underlying issues are not properly addressed, they would eventually fester and affect the future causing more damage. So I am addressing those festering wounds while looking forward to the future. I've also learnt that if I want to trully enjoy that glorious future that is mine, there is the urgent need to carefully and dilligently deal with these matters once and for all."Do not remember the former things,nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth;Shall you not know it? " Isaiah 43:18-19. For God to work his will perfectly in a person's life there must be that sincere acknowledgement of one's weakness and the need for His strength and help. On this journey of healing and transformation, the lord has been my strength and guide. I've learnt to lean and depend on Him constantly.When I find myself digging into that "bag of gaggage" which contains basically crap and lies that the enemy made me believe and carry over the years, I exchange them with the truth of God's words. It works all the time. (never even realised I was still carrying them around!) For instance when I'm feeling low, I just tell myself over and over that "the joy of the lord is my strength". I choose God's words over the devil's. Negative words inflict wounds while the word of God soothes and heals. No wonder I was constantly overwhelmed as a negative attitude is comparable with a dark cloud that broods nothing but storm and bad weather. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" Heb 12:1 Its been a slow but eventful journey. I'd expected to be "all that" but worried that I was not "all that". Dreams and aspirations seemingly not happening yet. In it all I'm Grateful. some of the reasons for my initial discontent was a result of comparing myself with other people whom I felt were doing better than me or were doing what I desired. Until I learnt to appreciate who I am as an individual and where I am, I was never happy. Moreover, the bible says "he that compares himself to another is FOOL" and nobody wants to be called a fool. So I gave myself a much needed nudge in the butt . Like a recovering alcholic, I'm taking little baby steps, not worrying but "running the race that is set before ME) not running another person's race as that only leads to fustration and eventual depression. Until I changed my perspective I was stuck in an emotional rot. I am learning to be CONTENT in all things not LETHAGIC but content and daily appreciating God for the gift of life. As I do these, life has become easier and less stressful because I've learnt to trust "The owner of Life". I remind myself its not so much the destination as much as the beauty of the journey. My life is an unfolding story and I'm learning to enjoy the narration. Its not fast paced as it used to be neither is it boring. The tempo is much different and I'm evolving into the beatiful, confident woman that I'm so grateful for. Despite my challenges- josh's diagnoses, my unemployement etc-I'm leaning more and more on God instead of whinning and complaing even crying but trusting God all the way. After all He started all this....so I'll give Him DRAMA trust me! lol. But its not all bad, Infact its not bad at all rather everything is LOOKING UP and what a PICTURE its turning out to be.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Death by TV

I love television! Infact, I can sit in front of the television all day and only get up to eat,pee or do whatever is important enough to draw my attention away from my beloved entertainment box. Watching television in itself is not bad but what I actually feed my subconcious with is a major cause for concern. Horror movies, cartoons, you name IT and I'm all over IT. Where is the NEWS in her watch list? Ironic isn't. A news person that doesnt watch NEWS. Aside from my passion for TV -Its made me more loko than normal-its an escape mechanism for me(how else would you explain my love for Homer Simpsons? its unbelievable..lol). Once during a diploma programme, I was asked who would I love to be the next President of the United states and in my poshiest and most confident voice, I said HOMER J SIMPSON! The class erupted in laughter and the lecturer fortunately made a mental note never to ask me any question during the duration of the programme. On a positive side, it helped break the ice in the class as I was the only dark skinned person taking that course. yeah...so I made some friends. One particular Christmas I chose to pay for movies subscription than buy a Christmas tree( still don't regret that decision...watched the most fantastic movies that winter lol) People have different escape mechanisms. some drink, smoke, party and even indulge in recreational sex..Yep! that too. While some actually blank out or walk away from troubling or worrying situations. I watched a documentary recently about a young lady(was actually born a boy that in itself is worrying)who dresses as a little baby, wears diapers, sleeps in a crib and bottle feeds herself as a method of escaping stress. After a psychological assessment, it was found that asking her to stop this damaging habit would do more harm than good. Did I judge her? NO rather I empathised. I don't approve of her choices mind you! More importantly,I'm saddened that she chose not to do something about her negative choices and face her problems instead of hiding behind diapers and baby dresses. Leah had an escape mechanism too. Gen 30 is an account of how she kept having children to solve a deeper emotional issue-get her husband to love her. She felt having more and more children would make her more loved and appreciated as a woman. But childbirth only gave her temporary relief and never solved the underlying issues. I have decided to change my coping mechanism and do something more constructive and instructive with my time. I won't cut off television entirely rather reduce the hours spent infront of it afterall I'm not a zombie! I refuse to be part of the statistics of people who spent over half of their lives glued in front of the television. I WILL NOT BE ZOMBIFIED BY FOX TV..LOL. You don't drink, smoke, womanise? good for you! but I have a weakness and its TV. I won't make excuses for myself or hide behind my challenges but would do something positive about it. "to tackle a great power, you need a greater power"(got that from 9th grade ninja-a cartoon series on Disney..lol see what I mean!). I've decided to meet my television addiction with prayer and the word of God. It's not gonna be easy but I'm positive on this particular life choice. Its not going to be death by tv for me but DEATH TO TV. P.S might start reviewing television programmes atleast sift the crap for you. LOVE YOU HOMIE.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Dare to BELIEVE

"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit". Act 1:4-5. There was much anticipation in the air as they gathered together for felllowship. It had become a habit this gathering. It didn't matter that the room was small and dingy. They moved around greeting and welcoming each other. Over the din of the small chit chats, a husky male voice raised a song. It was Peter. All those years spent fishing had taken its toll on his voice.It was slightly hoarse and hesitant. Everyone turned and looked at Peter. How he'd grown and matured since the Lord appeared to all of them. Andrew joined in the singing. A glimmer of tear rolled down Peter's cheeks as the other disciples joined in the song. How far they'd all come. The reformed tax collector, the fishermen, and the women- ordinary people whose life had been transformed by THE CALL. With outstretched arms they lifted up their voices to heaven. In unison they sang, a heartfelt song for the fulfilment of the promise-THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. It didn't matter that they were considered strange and uncouth they dared to believe Him that had made the call. It didn't even cross their minds to doubt, after all the promise of His ressurection was not a myth, they'd seen Him with their very eyes. They'd even broken bread together and Thomas' had his doubts wiped away at His appearance. In that room, they were ONE. Not divided by gender, status, or occupation but a unified expectation of the promise. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting" Act 2:2. Wow! They wondered with elation! The manifestation of the Holy Spirit was more than they imagined! Tears streamed unchecked down Peter's cheeks as he heard the other disciple speak in other tongues. Amazing! What He was experiencing was far above his craziest expectations. Amazing!!! The disciples experienced the supernatural because they obeyed Jesus's instruction and dared to believe. They dared to believe Him that promised becaused He had a track record of being true to His words.
In my study of Acts chapter 1, I realised Jesus did not give the exact day or time for the filfilment of the coming of the Holy spirit but instructed them to remain in Jerusalem "for in a few days they will be baptised with the Holy Spirit". They didn't mind the wait because they knew it will happen just as He'd said. They were happy to wait and fellowship in a small and dingy room. In life we do not know when an expectation will be met or a prayer answered but we need to remain in faith. As difficult as that might seem sometimes but "My grace is sufficient for you, 2 Cor 12:9. . yes! God's grace is available and sufficient enough to tide you through, all you have to do is dare to believe.Yours might not be a dingy room but a crappy situation nonetheless. Dare to believe Him for that promise? The disciples did and look at the awesome testimony. Its in the book of Acts-READ IT, I DARE YOU.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Nothing to fear after all

"I hope he likes this food oh", I muttered under my breath. "I'm seriously not in the mood for little boy tantrums. “OH God let Josh eat his lunch without any drama", I prayed while dishing his lunch of boiled potatoes and chicken curry sauce into a bowl. From the corner of my eyes, I watched as he hopped to the dining table and without much ado started eating his food with a smile and even a twinkle in eye. With baby fingers, he picked up the vegetables in the food and started humming a nursery rhyme oblivious to the stunned look on my face! You might be wondering what the fuss is all about in serving lunch to a 6 year old boy! Well, the thing is Josh does not eat potatoes no matter what it is smothered in for lunch! My son prefers pounded yam (a delicacy favoured by Nigerians and some Africans). He loves it so much that it has to be ready and waiting for him when he gets home from school. He doesn't mind having it three times a day if given. Wonder where he got that from? Hmmmmm! Ok! I confess! It’s me! *sighs* I love food. Nothing gets between me and my food (and it shows....please pray for me). While pregnant with josh, I was heavily diabetic and practically spent a better part of the nine months in the hospital. Despite my condition, I would sneak out of the hospital to eat pounded yam and egusi soup at an African restaurant (talk of being irresponsible! I knew the food was bad for me because of its high starchy contents but I couldn't resist its allure...sob! who wouldn't be?...sob).
Aside from genetically transferring the love for poundy to my son (it is possible....lol), a friend of mine gave Josh his first taste of the food when he was just eight months old. Since then my friends, there has been no looking back! Lol. Now you understand my fear when I served him potatoes and not his favourite food! After watching him gobble his food with relish, I realised there was no reason to fear after all. I'd been stressing myself for nothing. Phew! Have you been there before? I have and many times over. You panic over something only to discover there was nothing to fear in the first place. Worry takes away peace and rubs one the joy of enjoying the moment. We don't have to worry or live in fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Fear is the opposite of faith and Heb 11:6 says "and without Faith it impossible please God". Fear negates the power and supremacy of God concerning a given situation. Having no fear doesn't infer the license to be irresponble or throwing caution to the wind but simple obedience and trust in God-In His ability to take care of YOU. With Joshua, I allowed my fear of his tantrums control me instead of the other way round. I realised that I was not helping him by allowing him have his way all the time. I understand and appreciate his love for pounded yam but it’s my duty as his mother to weave other meals into his diet. Next stop.......Sandwich! And so help me God.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Home At last

Church was awesome tonight. I mean you could feel the atmosphere charged up with the prayers of the saints. How I've missed the weekly prayer meetings. You actually don't know how much something or someone means to you until you lose them or are out of reach. I was away in Nigeria for seventeen days, barely had time to go to church, fellowship, study my bible or even pray (case of misplaced priorities). Had lots of places to visit and people to catch up with. In fact I was everywhere in that short spate of time that I barely had time for a proper rest. ` Nah wah for Nigeria! Don't get me wrong I love my place of birth but the stress is just too much compared with Ireland where the pace is less hectic and system much more organised(I said compared with Nigeria oh!). I remember almost having a heart attack on the drive home from the airport in Lagos. Every driver on the road kept blaring their horns and people kept dashing in and out of traffic. I screamed all the way and confessed my sins every time an errant driver overtook my brother who drove as crazily as the rest of them. Within a week of all the excitement of meeting family and friends, I had seriously had enough and couldn't wait to be back in Ireland. In six years, Ireland has become more than a place of Sojourn but has become HOME. Mind you, it hadn't always felt like home. Initially, it felt like a prison! I felt like I'd done something dreadful and I'd to be put away like a scarlet girl (you know in those schools that underage pregnant girls are put so they would not slur the family name). Over time, I've set up roots in Ireland, made friends and formed relationships. More importantly, I've grown and matured in my relationship with God. What has location got to do with my relationship with God you may ask? For me EVERYTHING! I had too much distraction in Nigeria. I was career obsessed and God took second place. For God to take priority, a surgical procedure had to be done. He had to take me out from the familiar and that included family, friends, a "fulfilling" career and a toxic relationship. It was painful initially but it was for my good that I might not miss out on the greater picture of God's plan for my life (yep, I learnt to change a light bulb all by myself....lol). The believer is called to a life of separation not necessarily a physical separation of being plucked from a particular location but a separation nevertheless from the world. Abraham was called out from his father's country and everything that was familiar to him in order to achieve God's purpose for his life. I'm sure it was hard for him why else would he be dragging Lot around him when the instruction given was clear enough.Gen 12:12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you". . The blessing of the promise came after the separation. Aside from being able to change a light bulb all by myself. Lol, I've learnt to trust God for provisions for the journey. He won't leave you hanging.For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughtsIsaiah 55:8-9". In the journey to fulfilment, you may have to lose friends, change habits and let go of the familiar but at the end it would be worth it. Don't believe me? Check out Abraham's profile in the bible, it says it all. After all is said and done, Home for the believer is not about a building or a particular place its about finding God and being CONTENT in him. In Christ, I AM HOME. My family....love and miss you!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The beauty of EMPATHY

"Old people are smelly and creepy", she said wrinkling her nose. "eeeew", she added for emphasis and shuddered as if cold. "Beyonce is the coolest woman ever and I want to be like her when I grow up", she continued with a smile. The rest of the class bursted into laughter and erupted into an arguement on what is true beauty and what makes a person beatiful. I stared at the group of boys and girls in the youth sunday school and shuddered at the huge work ahead of me. "old people are beautiful! because they are old doesn't make them any less so", another said. "you will get old someday soon", contributed someone else. The joy of teaching! Its a mammoth task but one that I enjoy tremendously. Teaching the youths, mind you, the adults know too much already...lol. I watched my motley crew again as the arguements bounced back and forth, taking note of each contribution and thinking of answers to every question(did I say the adults know too much already? hmmm! I wonder where these kids get their information from...lol).
I call them my motley crew. They are all bright, vibrant and young but also very different. Offshoots from different homes and backgrounds. Framed by different circumstances and further confused by what the world has to offer which differs outrightly from what the church has to say( dont even mention the epileptic actions of us adults). I have learnt a lot working with these young ones. Everyone of them requires a different approach in as much as the goal is the same. I don't criticise neither am I shocked by some of their utterances or contributions rather I empathise with them. The truth is some of them do not know any better so who can blame them? Rom 10:14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? I would not treat the person who is from a dysfunctional home the same way I would a person from a two-person family unit. It doesn't mean the product of the latter family is any better. It just wouldn't work. Believe me, I know DYSFUNCTIONAL!. When I was growing up my family put the FUNK in DYSFUNCTION (lol...got that from Joel Osteen but it describes my family). It took the gentle loving hands of God to heal my hurts and mould me into the beautiful woman I know I am. Gentle, kind words go a long way people. There is a time for the firm hand but also a place for empathy and understanding.2 Cor 1:4 "He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ...". If you've had a crappy childhood, you'll know how to work with a child in that situation by extending the love that God has healed you with into that innocent soul. Iniatially, I had a problem empathising with my son. I tried relating with him like other children but Josh is differrent! He requires a more gentle approach. It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that my son has special needs(now you've made me cry!..it breaks my heart everytime but GOD IS FAITHFUL). I have to deliberately love when its difficult to love and understand his challenges. The reward is a beautiful smile and wet kisses that I get when mummy gets its right and doesn't shout like a mad woman(lol....cries again but with joy). That my friend is empathy. My devotion today taken from UCB.IE reiterates this point. Gen 33:13 recounts the reconcilliation of Jacob with Esau. Esau wanted to move everyone to his house for the "family reunion party" but Jacob said "you go ahead!..the children are weak and the flocks and heards which are nursing are with me...if the men should drive them hard..the flock will die..I will lead them at a slow pace...the livestock and the children are able to endure". Jacob knew that everyone could not move at the same pace. We all learn at different pace and God knows that about us. That's why He is gentle and longsuffering. He understands our frailties. Having suffered much at the cross Jesus still forgave. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Empathy does not mean tolerating rubbish or being a push over, its just a gentle reminder that before you jump off the rails berating anybody there might be a story behind that attitude and your empathy might be the key to unlocking the beautiful personality hiding behind that veil.1Cor 13:4 "Love is patient and kind". Pictures from a night out with my peeps

Monday, 19 November 2012

I stand STRONG.

"Enough already!", she thought to herself as she smiled into the face of her dinner date. "can't you just see that I am not interested in all your gibberish in as much as its interesting?....but its interesting to you alone", she mused to herself while nodding to everything he said. "are you listening at all?", he asked. "you've been nodding your head all evening but your eyes seem faraway". he stretched his hands across the table and held her hand, gently caressing her palm with his thumbs. A slight shiver ran up her spine and her lips went dry. Its been so long that she'd been held by a man and she loved that sweet tingling feeling caused by his thumbs as they went back and forth over her hand. She burst out laughing, shaking her head as if to physically clear the fuzzy feeling slowly enveloping her. "I'm sorry", she said to the rather stunned gentleman in front of her. "I love your drive and ambition but its simply not me", she continued. "as laudible as your ideas are they don't align with MY vision of the future and I'm not going to buy into it because you're handsome and I'm attracted to you. Its your idea, your convictions not mine. As much as I believe in you, I believe in myself and know what I want". He looked into her face like she was demented while she grabbed her purse and sauntered out of the restaurant. The men stared at the beautiful lady sashaying out of the diner with her luscious hair but most importantly wondering about the reason for that cat-got-the-mouse look on her face. "taxi", she called as she stepped out. A red cab came into a screaching halt in front of her. "queeneth drive" she told the driver as she slithered into the back seat and the cab drove off. The gentle crooning of Ron Kenoly was wafting through the car speakers. she closed her eyes as she allowed his soothing voice to wash over her. her mind drifted over the events of the past few months. it seems everyman that she'd come across lately want her for one reason or the other. they all seem to know whats good for her, what her future should be like. Only lastnight, her mother had asked her for the zillionth time when she'll settle down, that all her friends were married! phew! Nobody seems to understand that she knew what she wanted..."A MAN THAT LOVED GOD". That idea seems crazy these days but she had this unwavering conviction that she'll meet that man soon enough no matter how long it will take, she'd stake her convictions on God. Her dinner date had been pressing her on a business partnership since she met him. "lordy", she thought loud. He couldnt seem to understand that she was not interested in his proposals. She just had this nagging conviction that she was a means to an end for him......his passport to greener pastures in Europe. "Rubbish", she thought outloud again causing the cab driver to glance at her through the rearview mirror. "everything alright missy", he asked. "i'm fine just thinking out loud", she answered. she glanced out the window watching the city lights come alive. People had used her in the past especially men! Before she found jesus, she'd fallen for every man that that had shown her any semblance of love but now she knew better. the maxim "if you dont stand for SOMETHING, you'd fall for ANYTHING" readily came to mind. With Christ she'd found strength to say NO to sin and its alure. she was no longer that weak girl that could be easily swayed by any sexy smile but a strong confident woman who knew what she wanted and would gladly stand by it. The cab pulled in front of a luxury 3 story apartment building. " we are here missy", the driver called out. "I change my mind", she answered. "take me to the nearest chip and fish shop, I feel like having kebab". she had this desire to celebrate and celebrate she would as the driver pulled away to the sound of Ron Kenoly's dilectable voice. Standing for one's convictions is never easy ask Daniel in the bible but it is sure WORTH it. Several times challenged and tempted but chosing to always trust God to make a way of escape and daring to go all the way even if God choses otherwise. "I am not Daniel" you may say but that same grace is available to stand us out from the crowd. If God has said it, He will surely bring it to pass isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it". Its time to dare to hold on to the convictions and truth of God's word. Its the solid rock on which a man can stand and not be blown by the tides of the world- a bankabable "spiritual tender". Yep! the storm will rage and tempest will roll especially from family and friends if the matter borders on marriage and the fact that you're no longer sixteen? And all other matters at that! I always say if I've bothered to wait this long, then I'll follow the lord the whole nine yards and more! Remember,"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint". Isaiah 40:31. On this matter I STAND STRONG

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Simple things.

I opened my mail this morning and was blessed by a personal reply to one of my posts. It did not only bless me, it inspired me to do more as it shows that in a way the stories are making an impact which makes the few moments spent slugging at my laptop worthwhile (don't mind me, I love what I do when I do get to do it *sigh* ..lol) The stories do not serve to inspire and bless you alone but encourage me as well. It also goes to show that every simple act we do goes a long a way to impact our immediate enviroment and the world at large. So what are you contributing into your world. Remember, the story about the slave girl in the book of 2 Kings 5? Her name is not mentioned but her simple act of good deed is recorded for generations to read and learn from. She was a slave serving in the house of Naaman,Commander of the Aram army. Despite his enviable position, Naaman had a problem-LEPROSY which this little slave girl had a solution to. What blew my mind about this girl is that she did not consider her inhonorable position as a slave or that she'd been taken from her family (probably never to be seen again) but rather saw an opportunity to be a blessing. She did not allow herself to be embittered by her circumstances but sought to be an object of blessing. A simple advice and recommendation to Naaman from a nameless slave girl set this army commander forth to his deliverance from a condition that had otherwise marred his life. Another simple act act of good deed is the story of the little boy that gave up his lunch for Jesus to feed five thousand people in John 6:1-13. I believe that the boy had more faith in his little fingers than all the disciples put together. Unlike kids that are naturally selfish, he gave up his lunch without a struggle because he knew that Jesus could use his little contribution to feed a much needy crowd. Moses did not know how powerful his shepard rod was until he lifted it up for God to part the red sea Gen 15:16. I'm sure it never crossed his mind that his simple rod could make the difference between life and death for the Israelites.
Don't despise the effect of simple things. A simple kind gesture could be a life changing act that someone else needs. It could be as simple as a smile. I remember when I just had joshua. Single me with a disabilty and no family in a foreign country. No one to seek the much needed assistance from. I could barely take care of myself how much more this little lad. Imagine, my surprise when this beautiful lady in my place of residence walked up to me and offered to take care of josh so I could rest. She wasn't really a total stranger. I had been seeing her around and we shared the occasional chit chats but at that point in time I wasn't ready for any form of relationship but she eventually broke down my reserve with her offer to help. 6 years on, we are the best of friends as a result of that simple act. Never underestimate your giftings saying its insignificant compared to what Bill gates is doing but you are YOU and that makes you IMPORTANT. Why not give that idea a kick start, it will sure make a difference. Remember there is power in SIMPLE THINGS.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Don't give up.

"Sometimes when you are the closest to your breakthrough the pressure is the greatest. You have come too far to give up now! –Joyce. That statement credited to renowned precher Joyce Mayer is so profound. Have you ever been pressed to use the toilet, with your bladder full to bursting and set to give out on you? You manage to hold on to the wee and at the first sighting of your house or nearest toilet, you start to leak? I have been there so many times that I have lost count. Embarrasing isn't it? If you ask any pregnant woman in her final trimester,most can barely wait to get the baby out and the pregnancy over with despite the initial excitement of pregnancy. I remember in my final weeks of college, I just couldn't wait for the whole experience to be over and done with. I had to consciously encourage myself to go to school and hand in my assignments. It became harder to study and remain motivated. What kept me going those last few weeks was the thought of all those hours I had already put on this academic pursuit. I couldn't imagine failure or failing. Not me! No way! The journey to achieving a Masters degree in International Communication had cost me a lot emotionally, financially, psycologically and physically. I barely had time for Joshua, my family or any social life at that. In the midst of life challenges, it so easy to give up entirely or cut corners. I had a colleague who dropped out from the M.A programm citing too much pressure on the home front and problems with two courses. You could literarily knock me senseless with a feather when she told me she was dropping out at the die minute. We had survived the worst hurdles and had submitted our second semester assignments and she was dropping out? "you are not serious", I told her but she looked me dead pan in the face and retirated that she was! I begged and cajoled, reminding her of how far we had come but there was no changing her mind. we had only our thesis left to work- on and she two courses to re-sit and she was dropping out! I understood her challenges but could not fathom why she would not push through. I have been believing God for a husband and its not been easy. The loneliness is worse;no one to share true intimacy with. There are times I want to only be with and around that "special somebody", not just anybody. In the midst of "my wait" different men have come into my life but none fit my vision of a husband. Have I been tempted to settle for less? Ofcourse I have.I'm as human and vulnerable as the next person(I'm not made of stone you know...lol). However I constantly remind myself that I've not waited this long or held unto Godly values to settle for just anyone that bats sexy lids or flaunt manly biceps at me.No sir!. More than ever before I'm convinced that my breakthrough is round the corner and all that is needed now was Godly confidence, restraint and trust. I'm not looking for Superman or even Robin but a born again Christian. Like my good friend and pastor would say "it is better to be happy and single than be married and miserable", Pastor Kingsley Okonkwo. Many of my friends are married and some are ready to toss "a friend" at me or have one idea or the other on how to nab a man but I've refused to bulge under the pressure of "age" or compare myself with my married younger cousins. Of a truth, I want to be married and desperately so in the last couple of weeks but I choose to lean on God's strength and trust Him to help me make it through to the very end. Afterall, the bible says in James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him".

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lost my way

He staggered round the bend right into a tree. "ouch", he cried as he rubbed his nose with the sleeve of his once elegant tuxedo. he barely noticed the blood stain on his jacket but he did feel the beginning of a nagging, no make that raging headache coming up. Holding his head between his hands he stumbled into the forest, staggering further into its pitch dark, balmy embrace. He kept walking without a clue where he was going but had this urgent need to walk deeper into the forest. the night had started beautifully enough. Posh, handsome son of a preacher but the way he had lived his life this past 6 years no one would believe he'd ever seen the inside of a church. "damm you to hell", he screamed at the errant branch that hit his face. He hadn't seen that coming but it didnt matter. He just wanted to get away from it all. The light, music, the women and this cursed headache that was slowly blinding him. H,e just wanted to get away from it all. "shit,shit,shit, shit" he screamed again as his foot caught the jutting root of a willow tree and he went crashing down on his face. Nobody heard the sound of the 6 foot man that fell in the forest that night, no one heard the gut wrenching, heart breaking sound that came out from a throat pirched with thirst. His voice was swallowed by the the thick forest and the dense darkness. He turned on his back and looked up into the sky. it was a moonless night with no star in sight. The sky had lost its light it seemed just like his life. He drew himself up and felt his way around the tree until he felt a good place to sit, devoid of jagged tree roots snarled all over the place. He felt lost infact he was lost in the forest. Nobody knew where he was not even the elegant lady he'd taken with him to the company dinner. It had been a beautiful evening but he'd felt alone, very lonely! he'd barely heard any of the conversation going on around him. He just had this sinking sensation at the pit of his stomach, an urgent need to run. Sweat broke out on his forehead and the room had started to close in on him. Tugging at his tie, he started to mumble something under his breath to his date but she was so engrossed in the delicate array of sweets that was being served up. without much ado he stood up and staggered out of the room. Nobody had noticed his exit. 6ft tall, elegantly dressed blond boy and nobody noticed him staggereing out of the room tugging at his tie and into his blue coloured sports car. He'd driven for hours into the night without any destination in sight or an inkling of where he was. It was the sputtering noise of the engine that forced him to stop the car. There was no other vehicle in sight. Not a soul on this dark lonely road except the allure of the forest. Deeper and deeper he'd wandered until he found himself curled as a baby at the roots of a willow tree drawing painful short breaths. He was so lost in thought that he didnt hear the sound of crashing feet in the forest. it took a while before he noticed the light of a flashlight beam into his face and a seeming familiar voice whisper "Jason, are you alright?". "I saw you run out of the party looking sick and drive off like a mad man. I just had to follow you". Are you alright? it was Mimi his secretary of 4 years at the law firm. Plain looking, quiet Mimi. "Are you ok boss? she asked lifting his face up and pointing the touchlight at him. "you've hurt yourself" she said when she noticed the blood running fron his nose. He'd forgotten about that. She lifted the hem of her dress and cleaned his nose with it. Like a mother hen she muttered soothing words to him. He started to cry. Gentle sobs wracked his massive frame as she held him in her small arms and rocked him like a babe. "everything's gonna be just fine" she said and kissed his tear stained face". "you'll be just fine". "We just need to get out of this forest and everything's gonna be just fine" she continued. "Help me",Jason whispered to Mimi. I'm lost. I lost my way a longtime ago. The drugs, women etc. help me Mimi. take me home to my mother she'll know what to do". Mimi looked into those baby blue eyes and saw not the arrogant man she'd worked with for 4 years and who'd barely noticed her presense but saw a little boy who'd lost his way. "Dont worry, I'll help you home. we'll find a way out of this forest together". She helped him to his feet and with the beam of the searchlight, the two of them made their way out of the forest. what an odd couple they made. The 6ft blonde eyed man and the pint size lady. The little one helping the larger one slowly out of the forest with gentle and encouraging words Recently I lost my way! I found myself lost, alone and simply going through the motions of christian life and almost making desperate relationship choices. On the outside, I've got it all together but inside i'm a crumbling mess. Sometimes when we lose our way nobody notices because we put up this facade that everybody is used to or we are afraid of the "condemnation" so much that guilt eats us up inside. We fear we'll be looked down on if we confess to another that for a brief moment we lost our heads. The sad truth is that you suffer the most as your christian experience or relationship is weighed down if the issue is not properly addressed and you retrace your steps. The ultimate goal is to have an enriching and fulfilling christian living but the journey to that is as important as the destination. It matters to God and it should to you too. I knew it was never going to be easy but mehn..i never knew it was going to be this tough. Being a single mother with its ensuing challenges had started taking its toll on me emotionally, psycologically and physically but a carefully chosen outfit, make up and comedy infused conversation....you'll never know that good 'ol "Sister preacher"(that's what Pastor Oluwagbemiga calls me) doesnt really have it together. Despite my inner tumoil, there is something holding the fabric of my life together, that deep desire that I need to find my way home back to my father with the help of an unassuming nor intruding friend that is always looking out for me and knows when I need help finding my way back home...THE HOLY SPIRIT. Its good to be back home in my father's home where its safe and secure. He has good intentions for me even when his plans dont make sense and I try to break lose like the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 who rebelled against his father's "regime" but later "came to his senses" vrs 17. Our father is always on the look out for as many that would acknowledge their errors and crawl back home. Infact he is right at the window now watching out for you praying you to come back home. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.Bring the fattened calf and kill it.Let’s have a feast and celebrate.For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate".

Monday, 24 September 2012

.............and God showed up.

"Lord, what's going on?, I asked. I'd been in church for over an hour and no other member of the choir had shown up. Some members had given their excuses but what about the others I mused. "when last did you trully pray for the choir? asked that gentle, familiar, silent but audible voice. "before you start playing the sanctimonious leader check yourself". Immediately, my prayer stance changed and I spent the next thirty minutes praying."lord, I'm sorry! help me out here" I cried. Attendance at the choir rehearsals had been dwinling over time. It seems the members had simply lost interest or the fire had died. Ministrations had grown cold, robotic and bland. The downward spiral started after we had our 3-day summer prayer and fasting program. I guess we were so engrossed in the success of the event that we'd allowed things to slip.
Lesson learnt! following my dialogue with the holy spirit, I did not reprimand my members rather charged them with the seriousness of the business at hand. It just wouldnt do to let our guards down or be puffed up with the mercy showers we had been enjoying. The "special number" was abysmal, barely there, as our lack of preparation showed in our rendition. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap",(Gal 6:7). Also 2 Corinthians 9:6 "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously". God works with and by principles. We had sown nothing so we reaped nothing. Lesson learnt! Attendance improved slightly at the next reharsals-3 people turned up(that number included me) but I wasn't fazed. Interestingly, the three of us that showed up werent that musically inclined but WE WERE AVAILABLE. The song we chose to minister was a bit tecnical but I wasn't fazed. I was prayed up and ready to give it my ultimate best even the technical bit. "aunty, should we do the brige? Rachel asked. "its a bit techy". "yes, I answered with much emphasis. "especially the bridge. God will show up", I continued with a smile. My confidence stemmed up more from God's faithfulness not so much my ability to hold a note(have you heard me sing?....lololol. my familiy still dont believe I'm in the choir...don't tell them I'm even in charge..lol). And yes! God showed up that sunday. The ministration was awesome. we were not overly prepared but we were a yielded and willing instrument in the hands of God. I was humbled...and I'm humbled still. Lesson learnt! "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments".(Deuteronomy 7:9)God indeed works by principle. when we do our part He will back us up. Now I'll share the original version of the song we ministered. Its "I NEED YOU" BY EDDIE JAMES.

Friday, 21 September 2012

God is Never Late.

Standing by the river bank waiting for the waters to part. I shuddered in the cold as the wind blew at my face. Awaiting my miracle.......any miracle! I looked up as dark clouds gathered and heaven splewed forth rain. Lightening rippled through the sky as I stood shivering at the riverbank. Tears streamed down my face but I barely felt the cold. In the blustering wind,I could hear the chariots coming.the riders urging the horses to run faster despite the darkness. They were fearsome with their cloaks flowing behind them. The picture was frightening. I hurdled deeper into my coat seeking the protection of my warm fleece coat. but it offered no solace. From the corner of my eyes I saw the shining silver metal of a soldier's lifted sword and my heart caught in my chest. My knees crumbled underneath me. Despite the rain, the sand was still warm. It was not meant to end this way. I was tired of running.There was no where else to go.No place to hide. I wept like a child waiting to be crushed under the heavy weight of a soldiers blow. Lord, I cried.Help me lord! I need you lord!It wasn't meant to be like this. The waters are supposed to part for me and the chariots are drawing closer. Looorrrrrdddd! I cried. With trembling feet I crawled closer to the water bank muttering silent prayers to Jehovah to hear my plea and deliver me from pharaoh's army.The tide was mounting and there seems to be no help in sight! Will I survive this time? I felt a tug in my spirit, a silent voice said "Look up child".The battering army was no more.Like a vapour they'd disappear. The wind had dropped to a gentle whisper and the tide had subsided. I saw the sun come out from behind the clouds and its gentle ray shining down on me. I was no longer cold but clothe in an indescribable warmth. I felt the laughter riplling from deep within me and a gentle sound escaped from my lips. The days spent enduring the raging storms and tormenting army were soon quickly forgotten as I girded my cloak and boldly walked towards the waters. That too had parted! In the middle of the sea a royal aisle was waiting, my very own red carpet. I was no longer afraid as the hand of God guided me on this next journey, trusting Him to keep the waters at bay while I skip, run and dance to the other side of the sea.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Miracle in the mailbox .

Her heart pounded and she could feel the beady sweat running down her forehead as she heard the postman slip letters through the letter hole. "O lord", she prayed. "let it not be another bill". she'd been overwhelmed with bills this month and it seems they just keep pouring in. the gas bill, electricity, motor tax, insurance, school fees, on and on the list kept growing. The economic recession seems to be biting harder than it was 3 years ago. "what do I do lord", she panicked as she picked up the first envelop she could touch while straddling her little one on her hips. The little girl giggled as reached out and pulled her mother's luscious curls, mindless of the turmoil going on around her. "kids, how innocent and impervious they are to situations", the young mother mused. She walked back to into the kitchen while clutching the envelop in her hand. It was an official looking envelop with a government ensigna boldly printed on it. "O lord" she panicked too scared to open it. Could it the bank wanting to repossess her house because she'd been behind on her morgate repayment? "O God! no please" she pleaded as she opened the the envelop with trembling hands. she had been out of a job in six years and all her efforts to get back in the game had been futile. Nobody seems to want a single mother of three well into her late thirties1. sad, but that's how the world is she thought to herself. The absentee father of her children was not helping matters. He had not made any contribution for the children's upkeep in 4 years. "oh my God" she screamed crumpling the envelop in her hand, startling her little baby still straddled on her hips. "Oh my God", she repeated as she unfolded the letter again and her eyes ran through the already very crumpled letter soaked with tears. she was holding a miracle in her hands, an unexpected answer to a desperate heart cry. Three years ago, she had written a proposal to a government department highlighting ways that special needs education can be improved in public schools. As the years rolled by she felt her proposal had been dumped in the bin just like her other dreams had crumbled and died. In that dreaded sound of the postman dropping letters through her letter box had come a dream reawekened and renewed strength for the future. The future didnt look bleak anymore. Ironic it seems, doesn't it? that life's greatest miracles come from the most unsusual places, people and situations. My friend dreaded checking her post because of the recent onslaught of bad news that she'd received but her miracle came through the same mailbox. Imagine what would have happened if she'd chosen not to open her mail that day out of fear. I have learnt that obstacles are only stepping stones to promotion and opportunities are wrapped in the least atractive packaging.Isaiah 45:3 "And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel". God, Himself will deliver life-transforming opportunities from unlikely situations . It is possible only if we believe! Like a lot of people, I have my share of challenges but I believe the solution is closer than i imagined all I have to do is enjoy the storm and the miracle is a post man away

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Take Charge, Don't glide.

"twenty more seconds to go", the man screamed at the top of his lungs while 8 or so ladies struggled on their bikes in a desperate effort to keep pace with the slave-driver-like trainer! phew!, i muttered under my breath as my ample rump slipped off the saddle. With sweat smattering my eyes, I pushed my very tired body to the end of the spin class. Talk about total body workout. It had been gruesome but I survived the 45 minutes spin class despite my body almost giving up on me and my brain taking a stroll mid session(has that never happened to you? My brain does that often when I find myself in an uncomfortable situation doesn't yours? You must be an alien then.serious!. Catching my breath and pretending not to be totally fagged out, I glanced at the other ladies shamelessly sprawled on the floor with no form of dignity whatsoever... lol. I couldnt help but burst out with laughter at the antics of a particular blonde who kept moaning out loud and swearing off chocolate for the rest of her life. yes, chocolate was her guilty pleasure but the consequence was diabeties, high blood pleasure and a nagging continous back pain. Most of us in the class did not join the gym to maintain a perfect size 8 or whatever size is being celebrated in fashion magazines but it stemed more out of a desperate need to save our lives. I'm not being dramatic here but only stating the obvious. heart disease, clogged arteries are just some of the consequencies of obesity. After my post on spirit controlled weight loss, I procastinated a bit until I saw a recent picture of myself on facebook. truth be said i wasn't shocked rather very disappointed at how I looked! how did I allow myself to glide into self destruction because that is what obesity is-A DOWNWARD SPIRAL INTO EARLY DEATH!. A spoonfull of pudding here, extra portion of eba there and late night eating not to forget my inability to say NO to food. the initial gratification is good but the end result is what I'm desperate to shed. Gal 5:16 "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves". The flesh desires gratification despite the ensuing consequence(s)ie the eyes see it, the mind conceives it, the body desires etc. but the end thereof is death(obesity, high blood pressure, diabeties). Most obese people are emotive and cumpulsive eaters. when the balance of their enviroment is disrupted, they seek solace in food but Psalm 29:11 states that "God gives His people peace". It takes the holy spirit to live healthy lives and cultivate a healthy lifestyles. My body is the temple of the holy spirit and therefore deserves respect. It is so easy to make excuses for our weaknesses and inadequacies but the undeniable truth as found in proverbs 24:33-34 says"a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man". Poverty of the flesh in terms of sickness and disease, for some untimely death if not controlled on time. The choice is yours and mine to make! I know the journey ahead is ardous and requires commitment and discipline but I'm determined to take charge of my life and not glide myself to an early grave by satistying the desires of my flesh and that includes pre-marital sex.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

My hands are full

She had a gentle demeanor about her as she smiled making pleasant chit chats with the guests that attended the Deborah conference. There was something peaceful about her as she made the usual talk with the elegantly dressed ladies vying for her attention. I walked up to her and introduced myself as she sipped tea and was obviously taking a breather. It'd been a long but interesting morning and i'm sure this lovely lady would appreciate the rest( she didnt say so but I would...lol. planning such an event no matter how fulfilling it might be must have been tedious especially where it concerns women issues...phew). She gave me that 100% concentration she'd given to others while I introduced myself. Pastor Mrs Adebayo Oke(don't know her first name) is wife to the the National pastor of Redeem Christian Church of God Ireland but she did not strike me as your typical RCCG pastor's wife. There was no pretention about her neither did She exude or go about with this "holier-than-thou attitude. She was simple yet divine. It was my first time of seeing or even meeting her and I was impressed. I had walked up to her for networking purposes and ofcourse she was impressed with my resume(who wouldnt be impressed with my Einstein self?...lol). " I can't design a website but I can assist generate content and drive publicity", I told her. "that's very kind of you and your expertise is duly appreciated", she replied but could you discuss it with....She replied pointing to her assistant after discussing a few of the ideas with me "cos my hands are full right now and I might forget". If it were four years ago, I would blown my top! how dare she push me to someonelse! But I've grown rather matured over the years. This is a woman that knew where to draw the line and not bite what she could not chew. With quiet respect, she did not pretend or coat her words but simply told the truth. Women are natural multi-taskers. we juggle family with work and all other what-nots, not complaining while gently whittling away. In a bid to please everyone we take on chores upon chores without delegating responsibilities either for fear of hurting people if we refuse or simply because we have super-human abilities. But the truth is us women are not SUPER HUMAN!!! we get overwhelmed and tired like others. Ironically, we end up hurting the people we are trying to help when the desired or expected goal is not achieved. Moreso,saying yes to too many activities or responsibilities can be physically and emotionally depleting. Buttom line,know your strength/limitations and its okay to let others take over for a while. This will help ease stress..!!!
Sometimes as a single mum, I take Josh to his nanny while i enjoy an occassional Josh-free day or holiday. Desiring a bit more space for myself does not make me a selfish or bad mum. I've realised its either that much needed break or I'll end up in the madhouse!!! so for the sake of my sanity and the benefit of humanity its ok to draw the line instead of pushing mysel to breaking points and thereby destroying valuable relationships. Like my darling Mrs Oke told me "My hands are full". And I appreciate her sincerety and wish more more women can learn a thing or two from that simple yet loaded statement.