Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Dance

Adorned in white and glowing in glory
I danced with my saviour
Swirling and dipping in his Love
I moved with grace
And was lost in His eyes.
It was the dance of Salvation

I didn’t notice the evil that lurked in the corner
The eyes of Jealousy that feasted on me
For he had sworn to get me out of the arms of salvation
Back into his arms where I can bask
In all the selfish desires he offered me

From the corner of my eye, I saw him
Beckoning on me with desires I thought were long dead
I felt drawn to him and my feet moved
Until I was in his arms
his dance was different
It left me in pain and deep sorrow
I thought will never disappear

But I ran back to the arms of the Lord
And His gentle ways and love
Dispelled the darkness in me
Not long after I was back in the arms
Of the one who had sworn to destroy me
I could not understand why I kept returning
It was like a pull I could not resist
I did not understand why I kept returning
Into the arms of one who hurts me

Each time I swirled back into the arms of Love
I saw in His eyes
The longing for me to stay and be strong
And yet again, I always broke His heart
And returned into the arms of the enemy

But every time I returned to Love
He took me back
And the dance was always more beautiful
More precious, More Loving
Urging me to stay
But I kept returning and I didn’t know why

Now I am dancing with my Love again
I can see in His eyes
That He knows I will leave again
To dance with the devil
But I see no condemnation there
I only see a plea
I see love

I fear that if I go now
I would never return
I cannot watch Him every time I leave
Heartbroken, sorrowful and in tears
I didn’t want to go
I could not keep breaking His heart

I leaned into Him and said
“Lord pls never let me go
I am weak and I know I will return
Into the arms of evil
Lend me your strength Lord
I cannot resist this on my own”

The Lord changed His position
One swirl turned me away from the devil
I no longer had to see the face of evil
I only looked into the face of my Lord
His grip on my hands became stronger
Our dance had changed
It was the dance of deliverance.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This is not a love story....

I sat at the waiting reception after checking in.  My entire family had come to say goodbye to their little girl, except for my twin who had relocated with his wife to the UK.  I on the other hand chose to move to an African country, Ghana.  I have often wondered at my fascination with that place, now I had taken the step to start a new life there.

I had almost an hour before my flight; I found a very comfortable spot at the waiting area and took in 
my environment, the faces of people waiting for various flights.  I was to resume at my new job the following week with a school for early infant education as the School Counselor.  I had taken the opportunity without even thinking because it was a chance to start over in a new environment, where nobody, absolutely no one would know me.

I sighed on my seat and looked outside the window, I loved the feeling of being unknown, just another face in the crowd, believe me, I couldn’t explain it but It was a wonderful feeling, almost breathtaking. 

Then I spotted him, broad shoulders, big nose, well fitted polo top and jeans on an almost perfect body, tall and dark, I’d know this person even from his side view.

Deji

I panicked.  With the speed of a desperate woman, I picked up the closest magazine near me and put it over my face.  The guy beside me looked at me funny, but I didn’t care.  I lowered it a little until my eyes were a little above the magazine like a Hippopotamus under water and starred at him.  He was finishing his purchase at the food court and walking back to his seat.  I was so relieved when he sat backing me, but I kept the magazine up just in case his eyes wandered.

Then my flight was announced.  I gathered up my things quickly and dashed for the boarding area. I was the first (wow!).  I was just glad I had escaped that close encounter.

As I settled in my window seat and looked out of the window, my thoughts returned to the new life of adventure I was going to have in Ghana; new job, new friends, new environment… and maybe, the elusive love might just catch up with me.

“Kemi-doll”

I froze.  I didn’t have to turn; I knew that voice and the one that always called me like that.  I didn’t move.

“Kemi-doll” he said again.

This time I turned and there he was, smiling broadly at me, I returned a weak smile and turned back to the window, but not before I noticed another person take the seat next to mine.  That was a huge relief.  Deji’s seat was the one on the aisle, he tried to reach across to me but I shrunk deeper into the side of the airplane like my life depended on it.  The smile on his face disappeared like magic, I didn’t care.

After takeoff and the seatbelt sign had been turned off, I heard Deji whisper to the guy next to me 

“Please can we change seats for a while?”

“No!” I almost screamed.  “Please don’t, I beg you”

The man looked as confused as Deji, shrugged and ignored both of us.

“Kemi, what did I do?” He asked with his laughing voice.

I ignored him, plugged my ears with my Ipod and turned to the window again.  I didn’t switch on the music so I could still hear them whispering.

Tears involuntarily rolled down my cheeks.

“I think she’s crying” He whispered to Deji

I didn’t dare look at them.

When snacks were being passed around, I only shook my head to refuse what was offered, I didn’t unplug my ears, it was a long flight.

My thoughts wandered again, not to Ghana, but to the United States.  How we’d met, the nights when we had talked on phone for hours, the laughter that made me roll out of my bed, the gentle encouraging voice on the other end, the teasing, the very awkward moments, the surprise visit… everything right down to the moment my foolish heart had gone and fallen in love.

I could hear Eji’s teasing voice (a very good friend I also met in the United States) telling me I was in love with Deji, but in my normal style, I denied it.  Then, all at once, the happy memories were replaced with the pain of rejection and then I couldn’t stop the tears.

“What did I do?” I thought ‘Why did he just walk away like that?’  My heart returned to the only logical explanation I had – We were just two lonely people in another land who needed companionship and when I left, well… he just moved on.  Plus, he was engaged so… it would never have worked.  I had often thought about what I would do if I ever saw him again… would I be happy and jump on him… or just ignore him?  Well, I had my answer now.

One question I had kept asking myself since I took the offer came back to haunt me again “What are you running from?”  I thought about that question over and over again, but kept telling myself I wasn’t running from anything, but needed the adventure which was a blatant lie!  I was running, running away from past hurts, disappointments and I just felt I could leave the ghosts of all these things behind where they had started.  Well, one of the ghosts was two seats away from me… so much for going somewhere no one knew me.

The pilot announced our arrival.  I gathered myself and braced myself for the impact, not of the landing plane, but of the encounter with Deji.

When it was time to alight, the man in the middle whispered something to Deji and they shook hands, he stood first, but Deji waited.  I sat there staring at people as they filed out.  I resigned to fate.

The man in the middle moved past Deji to join the long line of people filing out, so I stood up, Deji pulled me back down and took the seat beside me.

“Why are you not talking to me? Is that the way to treat your dad?”

I looked at him and remembered how he used to switch between roles; it was our little joke back then.  He’d be my dad, my brother and even my boyfriend depending on the situation.  It was really funny and cool, but not at the moment.

“I’m tired, it was a long flight” I said

I stood and joined the line of people filing out, he didn’t pull me back, he naturally didn’t like creating scenes… he had not changed.

I avoided him at the baggage area and took the first taxi I saw when I walked out of the airport.  I gave the driver the address of the place I’d be staying and saw Deji looking at me just as the car pulled out into the highway.  He actually looked very confused.  I settled into the back seat and let my mind drift again… to Deji

He had introduced me to a friend and I remember how mad I had been.  I did not understand why I was so mad at first, but when I sat to analyze the situation I knew for sure what my friend Eji had said was true, I was in love with him.  I didn’t want his friend, I wanted him. 

When I told him I was upset about the whole matchmaking thing, he said he knew.  I remember his words like it was yesterday

“As your dad, you know I will always protect you, I can’t do anything that will harm you”

“And as my boyfriend?” I asked

He said the sweetest thing “I will never share you with anyone”.
I remember reading that line over and over again; over a million times I’m sure. 

“We are here” the taxi drivers voice brought me back to reality.

I opened my bag and handed him some money.  He thanked me in a language I believe was Twi, something I would have to learn while here.  I love African languages.
The place I was to stay was a storey building of about 10 floors.  The receptionist gave me my room key and told the bell boy to help me with my bags.  My room was on the 10th floor, I sort of liked it cos from my window I could see everything.

I gave the bell boy a tip and when he closed the door, I sat by the window and just starred at nothing.  I wondered what Deji was doing in Ghana.  He left the US to take a job in Tanzania, I remember that conversation too, I had asked him to take me with him back then, and he laughed.

I had even tried matchmaking him with a friend of mine too (part of my denial mechanism I guess).  
When I told him about my friend, he didn’t respond to my chat on bbm, I thought he was offended.  But then, he called me later at night.

“What makes you think I am not interested in you”? he asked

And for 10 seconds, I had nothing to say.  I stammered and laughed it off.  He laughed too and the conversation ended, but it was in that moment that I started to consider that maybe I was really in love with him.

My thoughts returned to Ghana 

“I just hope Ghana is big enough to keep us apart” I said to myself.  I was in Greater Accra and if it is anything from the name, we should be far apart… hopefully.

For the next couple of days before I resumed work, I explored the city.  I went to my new place of work just to know the distance from my house, looked for shortcuts, markets, saloons and other places of interest and I had a very nice time, I was so sad when Sunday night arrived. 

On Monday morning, I looked at myself one last time in the mirror, I was satisfied.  I had to look good on my first day.  I looked out of the window and froze…. Deji.  He was stepping out of the building and calling a taxi.  “We stay in the same building?”  I almost fainted. 

My new life in Ghana just got a lot more complicated.

I watched him enter the cab and followed the cab with my eyes until it was out of sight.  I stood there just starring until I remembered I had to get to work early.  I tried as much as possible to get that new fact out of my head while at work, but as the hours ticked by, and closing time drew closer, my heart beat faster and faster.  All I could think about was how to come up with a strategy to ensure that we never crossed path in the building.  Maybe he was there for just a short business trip and would leave soon, so all I had to do was dodge him for as long as he was around.

Worst of all, I didn’t know his floor, what if we met in the elevator?   That thought made me shiver.

When it was time to go home, which was about 5pm, I quickly took a cab.  Before I came down from the cab, I looked everywhere; the taxi driver had to ask if I was ok.  I nodded, paid him and walked as fast as I could into the building. 

I took the stairs.

By the time I reached the 10th floor I was exhausted.  I slowly opened my door and went to the window.  I sat there and my thoughts drifted again as I waited for Deji to show up.

I remember that day like yesterday, it was 12 midnight and I could not sleep, my thoughts kept returning to this guy and I remember saying to myself “What is so wrong about telling a guy how you feel anyway?  Who made the rules?  What will happen to me if I tell him?”  So with those questions on my mind, I picked my phone and sent a mail (I didn’t have any of his numbers again).  The mail was very short and straight to the point.  I told him sending the mail was the most stupid thing I’d ever done, but I wanted him to know how I felt about him…  I was able to sleep after the mail was sent.

The next day he replied.  I was so overjoyed.  He asked if I was joking and promised to give me a call so we could talk about it… and to this day, he hasn’t called or gotten in touch with me.  That was the last time I ever heard from him.  The next time I heard anything about him was when a friend told me about his upcoming wedding.  I was shattered.

The sight of Deji walking into the building brought me back to reality.  It was 7pm.

Good.

Now I knew when he left the building and when he came back.

How about weekends?  I thought to myself.

I will have to figure that out later.

My strategy worked.

I left the building in the morning after him and tried to get back before him.

On Saturday morning, I decided to add a new look to my new life, I decided after long considerations to go on low cut.  My brother’s voice echoed in my head “You go wowo”(You’ll be ugly). But I shut his voice up in my head and decided to take the plunge. 

I took the stairs… again.  It was an unpredictable weekend.

As I stood on the covet waiting, a cab stopped right in front of me and when I bent to talk to the driver I saw him.  My first instinct was to run… actually I ran.

I took the next cab that came.

“Kemi”  He screamed.

“Drive” I screamed to the taxi driver and he sped off.

I was such a crappy strategist, I thought to myself.  Now he knew I stayed in that building, he would also be watching out for me.

Why was I running from him anyway?  I asked myself.  The answer came almost immediately.  It had taken me a very long time to get over the guy, and I wasn’t even over him yet, I was so afraid that I would fall for him again plus I couldn’t face rejection in the face.  I had told him how I felt and he completely ignored me, made me feel like I was nothing important.  Besides he was getting married soon, which was the one information that had almost killed me when I heard.

When I got to the saloon, I chickened out of cutting my hair, (I guess my brother’s voice won).  Plus I secretly hoped Deji would maybe see me and change his mind (very silly I know) I did braids instead.

I didn’t see Deji again for two weeks; I was relieved and a little disappointed.  I don’t know why actually (of course I did). 

I thought he was done with whatever he was in Ghana for and gone back to Tanzania, so I let my guards down.

He was also a strategist.  He waited for me after work and entered the same elevator with me.  When I saw him, I wanted to bolt out but the door closed.

He stood beside me, I ignored him.

He waited for me to punch in my floor but I didn’t. When we reached the 10th floor and everyone was out of the elevator, he turned and said “We are going to ride this elevator together until you get off on your floor, or I will follow you everywhere until you talk to me”

The elevator door was about to close, I stopped it with my bag and walked out.  He followed.

“What do you want?” I asked

“I just want to know why my daughter is so upset with me she wouldn’t talk to me or even look at me”

“I am not your daughter” I said stomping my feet like a foolish little girl.

Then his face looked very serious

“Whatever I did, or have done, I am sorry Kemi.  Please just talk to me.  I haven’t been able to get over your reaction to me in the airplane, and I have searched for you only to find that we live in the same building”

I felt tears in my eyes and I turned away immediately and walked to my door.  He followed.
When we entered my room, it just poured out

“What did I do to you Deji?  You just stopped talking to me, you left me guessing and trying to figure out how I had offended you.  You disappeared from bbm without letting me know, changed your numbers and now you are getting married and I know nothing of anything” I said crying.

“You broke my heart into tiny pieces and it has taken me two years to get myself together and now, just when I think I’ve made headway, you appear and expect me to run to you with open arms?”  I sat down and covered my tear stained face with my hands.

“I’m so sorry” He said slowly. “It wasn’t intentional.”

“The truth is I knew you were falling in love with me and I just thought it would be easier not to lead you on since I knew the feeling wasn’t mutual.  I felt letting you go was the best option, so I just…”

“You were wrong.  If we had talked about it, and you had told me it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t have been as painful, but you left me in the dark, just wondering what I had done.  I don’t know if you knew, but our friendship was very important to me, and even though we could not be romantically involved, I would have been cool just knowing we were still friends” 

“I’m sorry.  I thought I was doing the best thing.”

I stopped crying.  He came to seat beside me and pulled me into his arms.  I started crying again.
So, that was how the confrontation I had imagined in my head several times played out.  We talked some more, not about anything serious.  He was transferred to Ghana, would be getting married in a few weeks and would be moving his family to Ghana.

“Would you come for my wedding?”

I looked at him without answering.

“I’m sorry, I understand”.

I said nothing.

After that encounter, we became friends again.  He visited a lot and we talked a lot.  But I warned my heart and threatened it with open heart surgery if it tried anything stupid.

It dared me.

The night before he traveled for his wedding, he visited.

“I’m travelling tomorrow”

“Really” I said avoiding his eyes.

“Yes, really.  I was hoping you would change your mind”

“Really?”

“Yes, really”

“I haven’t” I said.

“Ok” 

“Congratulations, I am very happy for you”

“Thank you dear daughter”

I laughed.

“I can’t wait for you to meet your new mother” he said with his laughing voice.

“Me neither” I said rolling my eyes

When he left my room that night, I cried.  I had gotten the closure I longed for, and I was hoping the door would stay closed forever.

The next day, I moved.

I had been making plans to move the moment he told me he was coming back with his family.  I knew I couldn’t bear to meet my ‘new mother’ and still be all chummy; that was a sure recipe for depression.

Two months later, I sat counseling a little girl who was convinced her mother hated her, my phone beeped.  I looked at the caller ID and it read ‘Deji’.

I ignored the call.

Later that night I called back.

“Hi” my heart skipped a beat when I heard his voice; my silly heart was not scared of the open heart surgery.

“How are you” I asked trying to sound cheerful.

“You moved, why?”

“I had to, I can’t…” my voice trailed off.

“Still?” he asked

“Yes, still” I replied.

“I understand” he sounded sad. “We can still talk right?”

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea…. Maybe once in a while” I added.

“ok”.

“Have a lovely night rest and congratulations once again”

“Thank you” he said.

So, I did see him once in a while, but from afar. I needed to move on, that door was never going to be open again.

My lesson from all this?  No matter how much I love a guy, I would never EVER let him know first until I know for sure how he feels about me.  If I die hiding it, so be it. 


So help me God.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EXPAND YOUR NETWORK! GROW YOUR NET WORTH!



“The Richest People in the World look for and build NETWORKS, everyone else looks for work”. –   Robert Kiyosaki


As a corporate professional, expert or entrepreneur, networking is a key activity that is often neglected by many but critical to your personal growth and business development.

Whether you are growing company or small business, it is all about networking, building relationships and taking deliberate action. 

Building successful businesses take a lot of time and drive, therefore it’s always good to have a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going.

This is where the Young Adult Professional & Entrepreneur (YAP&E) social networking event becomes the ‘next best thing’ to happen to your personal and professional development.

YAP&E provides you a fun, engaging and highly interactive platform that surrounds you with people who share a similar drive and ambition to yours.

Generally you are more likely to move forward as a group but that’s not the only benefit of networking via YAP&E. In fact that’s only the beginning. 

                                   
                                               Young adult professionals & entrepreneurs interact at a YAP&E event

“There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs”


10 BENEFITS OF NETWORKING WITH YAP&E

1.      Raising awareness about you: This is an opportunity for you as an individual, to not only tell your unique story but to sell it! Also, because you would be telling it to at least two to three persons at a time, it is important to remember that these are folks you probably have never met before. So consider this the grand stage of opportunity.

2.      Sharing and solving problems: During the motions of communication you grasp the opportunity to be a beneficiary of what your counterpart may have described as the solution his/her business provides and vice-versa.

3.      Building strong relationships and rapport: A fun atmosphere that is calming and properly organized really helps to get participants to relax and bond. It would surprise you just how easy it is to connect with a supposed total stranger once a mutual interest is identified.

                               
                                       Young adult professionals & entrepreneurs interact at a YAP&E event

4.      Developing partnerships, leads and referrals: This is the big bang – collaboration. A very             interesting conversation about individual interests, services and solutions soon creates a superior         energy that is the result of two or more people coming together to create clever solutions for a             greater good.

5.      Becoming more influential in your industry: Your good-naturedness alone during a networking event could be your greatest unique selling point. In his book – The Way To The Top – Donald Trump interviews several business gurus on ‘the best business advice they have ever received’. And the one that stood out for me was ‘People like to work with people they like.’ Be the likeable person and you’re on your way to the top.

6.      Increasing efficiency and productivity: When you interact with people with like minds, one thing is sure, you learn. By hearing what others have done and experiencing their own success, you learn where you need to improve and how to go about it. And in so doing you enlarge your capacity for greater productivity and better efficiency.

7.      Educate yourself on industry trends and opportunities: You remain on top of your game. You can effortless articulate what products and or services rule the market and properly re-position your brand in a volatile market having gleaned wise counsel during your interaction with game changers.
 
                                                 Young adult professionals & entrepreneurs interact at a YAP&E event

8.      Identifying goals: Imagine being in a networking event and your first interaction is with an emerging competition. What better moment to identify possible ways to better align your products and services to your consumers without the fear of being run out of town.  See your challenges as an opportunity for growth!

9.      Increased confidence: Many people shy away from networking as ‘boring or bookish’. Roam wasn’t built in a day. It takes one networking event after another to build confidence in ‘you’ first and then gain trust in others. This is why you must not miss a YAP&E event! Visit www.yapande.com for more info.

10.  Great connections: YAP&E is the ideal place for all young corporate professional, businessmen & women, experts and founders. It is a phenomenal mix of interesting people from various fields coming together to create a superior energy that is able to propel each person and or group into their next level of genius!

                                                                
JOIN US to Network on the 26th of February 2015 @ Ginger Tapas & Grill, Cosmopolitan Mall, 6A Ologun Agbaje, off Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island.
Time: 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

For more information email pr@yapande.com or funke.shonekan@yapande.com or visit www.yapande.com


Follow us on twitter @yapande & on Instagram @YAPANDE, and Follow us on LinkedIn @YAP&E
          www.facebook.com/youngAdultProfessionalsEntrepreneurs
                                                     "Watch http://youtu.be/i13s1lc-cEc"



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

He came back!

Sunday Afternoon

One of those days you just want to hide away in the house, lay on your bed and do nothing… or maybe read your favorite book.  Yeah, that's the state I was… with my favorite book written by my favorite author - Francine Rivers.

'knock knock knock'

I cringed inwardly, my first thought was to totally ignore the person.  It would have been better if I didn't have to stand up to open the gate myself, but I had to.

'Knock Knock Knock'

This person was persistent.

There goes my afternoon alone.  I walked sadly to the gate, half praying it was someone worth the sacrifice.  When I opened the gate, I was greeted with His smile.  There before my eyes stood my friendly stranger, as gorgeous as I remembered him the first time we met years
ago.  I wasn't sure what to do… Jump on Him, Hug Him?  I just stood there smiling dumbly.

"You have a penchant for making unannounced visits" I finally said

"It's my style" He said

"May I come in?"

"Sure" I said suddenly remembering my manners.

We walked into the house lost in our individual thoughts.  Moments we shared 2 years ago played in my head.  I had thought he was an angel, but do angels visit twice?  I tried stifling my disappointment that He wasn't an angel after all.

We sat down and for a couple of minutes just looked at each other. I was waiting to hear what message he had brought me this time.  As far as I knew, everything was perfect for me, God had answered almost all my prayers.

He broke the silence

"How are you?"

"I'm great" I said smiling

"I hear your dreams have come true, you now work with children?"

"Are you stalking me?" I asked

He smiled. "How are you enjoying your new job?"

"It's  awesome" I said " I get to spend the whole day with children, be myself all day without anyone judging me"

" You don't take long walks anymore?  I haven't seen you on that path for a while" He asked

"Nah, I get back really late so I just take a bike"

"And you leave the house when"?

"Very very early"

"So you barely have time for anything else?"

"Yeah, I am so busy now I barely have time for myself. I'm out so early and get back late at night. I ….." my voice trailed off as a sudden realization hit me… He was drawing me to something.  I looked at Him and just then He looked so sad.

"You have forgotten me" He said in a very soft whisper

"I made your dreams come true. I gave you what you desired most,  your deepest heart cry I gave to you on a platter of gold, but it has taken you away from me.  Those long walks you used to take, when we would talk and you would sing to me songs no one had ever heard… I loved them, I looked forward to them."

'I'm so sorry" I whispered

"I came just to hear you speak to me. You are my desire, I am very passionate about you"   I Love to see you happy and content,  but don't let my gift be the reason you drift away from Me.  I gave you to draw you closer to myself,  not the pull you away.

He stood up and walked up to me "Stand up"

I stood before Him, ashamed of myself, of my actions ever since I got the job.

He pulled me into a hug. I relaxed on Him and whispered in His ears "I am so sorry"

"You are forgiven my love"

We sat down and he asked me to tell Him all about my new job.  We talked and laughed for hours, time seemed not to matter.

"Thank you, for making my dreams come true"  I said

"Thank you for bringing me great joy" He said.

He stood up to leave.  I didn't ask Him to stay, I didn't ask when I would see Him again.  I knew that I would see Him every day, and we would talk every day.  He never really left me, and even though He didn't say who He was, I knew that my friendly stranger wasn't a stranger at all,  neither was He an angel..  but my Lord, my Love, my Saviour… My Jesus.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Like little children.

Happy New Month... but let’s go back a little bit....

Christmas was awesome, not really because of the food and drinks and having family around, but because of the little tiny moment of inspiration, God gave me that birthed this article.  It was such a tiny moment that if I did not pay attention to, I would have missed it.

So... we usually have a huge Christmas party every year at my parent’s place in our hometown, Ibadan where we host friends and family.  I like to think of it as a small family reunion; I get to see uncles and aunties I have not seen during the year or for many years.  I get to see cousins that have grown much taller or cousins that were once in diapers but now have beards... little girls that have become young ladies etc.   
This year was no different. 

Now stay with me, I am getting to the tiny moment...

I was serving the guests as usual and my little niece was running around with two other little boys that were about her age or maybe a year older.  They were having so much fun; laughing and squealing with joy at their little “catch me if you can” game.  Suddenly, she fell down.  I was going to scold her and maybe spank her (grown-ups are so quick to do that) and stop the game.  Then it happened, in slow motion... the boys quickly ran to her side, helped her get up and then started dusting off all the grass and dust that had gathered on her clothes.  I stood there and just stared in awe of what was happening before me. (It was really a slow motion picture).

I smiled and that moment brought tears to my eyes.  It was so cute and beautiful.  These were kids she had never met before and they were even boys (some guys should get some lessons on how to be gentlemen from those kids).  I walked away from the scene but I caught a glimpse of this same scene reoccurring a few more times and the boys always picked her up and dusted off the dirt before continuing their game.  They even removed the grass on her hair; they were very thorough.

Early last year, I started a course on Child Psychology and it has made me very aware of children and their behaviour.  Maybe this was what made me catch this tiny moment or maybe God really wanted me to learn something from it.  Whichever way, that seemingly insignificant moment brought a scripture to mind “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:3-4

Christianity is slowly becoming a hostile religion because we have all decided to behave like grown-ups.  We are quick to judge each other, point fingers, laugh at people who are down and raise our noses at people who are not perfect in our own eyes.  We smile at each other in church but kill ourselves in our hearts.
What if we all picked each other up when we fall instead of laughing, pointing fingers, posting on Facebook, and tweeting about it.  What if we extended our hand to help before using them to tell the world about the hypocrisy and injustice that had happened.  Ok, let us even leave social media.  What about gossiping about church members that make a mistake?  Some people even begin to avoid them so that they don’t get contaminated or even tagged a sinner too.  Where is the Love?

What if we all love each other with pure love as little children do?  Many times, the same people that judge and criticize people like this are close friends that have eaten at the same table with them. 

The church has become a masquerade ball; a place where people come in with masks.  They hide their pain, their sin, their suffering in order to keep up their image and remain a part of the so-called church family.  Many weak people in church pretend to be strong; people in high positions that contend with sins they cannot tell anyone about.  Then they find other avenues to express these sins and one mistake, one moment of carelessness (moment mostly arranged by God to set them free), and we tear them down with immediate effect.

What if we all helped each other when we fall?  Catch each other when we trip.  Hold weary hands and raise feeble knees that stoop to fall, pick each other up, dust off the mess on our clothes and continue on the journey to meet our father, rather than trampling on each other.
I often wonder what Jesus would have done if he were in our time right now, with all the scandals happening in the church, the denials, betrayals etc, would He be quick to sign in to twitter or Facebook and pour insults on the culprits?  If a church member got pregnant out of wedlock, would he backbite and avoid that person, love the person or would He pray and find a way to help?

Beloved, before you tweet anything, post on Facebook or talk about the flaws of anyone, take a moment to ask yourself; how can I help?  And if you can’t reach the person personally, a little prayer would do wonders.

Let us obey the words of our master Jesus... be like little children.


So help us God.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

By His stripes, we are Rich!!!

Does it sound absurd?  Read it again pls.

Does it still sound absurd?  I’m I the only one thinking it is absurd?  I’m seating at the reception of one of the biggest advertising companies in Nigeria, chilling for an interview and instead of rehearsing my lines (I’m I the only one that does that?), I’m thinking about this statement and the man of God that caused this line of thought and writing this note.

In his words, “Many people will get to heaven, and God will show them all the cars, lands, property, and money they were supposed to have on earth” I know these things are not bad, but is that what is in the mind of God?  Is that all there is to existing on earth?  So, when you have owned everything, what next?  To what end is chasing after all these things anyway? For the fleeting pleasures that will end here on earth?

Did Jesus die so we could have earthly treasures?  Were those his thoughts as He was whipped and as he carried that cross to Calvary? 
“Lord, by these stripes, give them cars, houses and every earthly treasure”

Like I said, there is nothing wrong with these things, but when they become your yardstick for measuring success and approval of your life on earth by God then you have it all wrong.  These things are mere blessings that God gives man out of the goodness of His heart; he blesses both the sinner and the saint.  The bible says “... for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

God does NOT care how many cars, houses or how much wealth you amass here on earth, it is very inconsequential to Him.  If that was the reason He sent His son to die, then we are all doomed.  If that is all He wanted us to have, then Jesus should have just stayed in heaven.

The only thing God is interested in is the souls of men.  I don’t know what will happens when we die, I have never died before. However, I have heard people say and read in books that when we stand before God, our entire life will flash before us and many will weep in deep deep deep sorrow for the life they lived.  I doubt if these people will be weeping because of all the cars, houses, lands, and money they did not own on earth.  I believe they would be weeping for their soul and the many souls that perished as a result of the foolish choices they made on earth.

It is sad that many people would read the title of this note and think how absurd it is, but in reality, that is exactly how they are living.  Many Christians only serve God because of what He can give them; they are not a tad bit interested in what God requires of them.  May I remind you that none of these things will get you into heaven; they would not even follow you to your grave.  In the eyes of God, they are only chaff that will burn in the fiery judgment of God.

Only the things you do that align with the heart of God will stand and speak for you in the presence of God.  It is an insult to think that the stripes Jesus bore are only for your own lustful and earthly benefits.  God will not allow you make a mockery of such great sacrifice.  So, while you are busy chasing all these things on earth, ask yourself this question; to what end?  If all you have accomplished and all you are worth on earth is a couple of houses, cars, money etc, then in the eyes of God you are worthless.

I’ll leave you with this thought...

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15


Choose therefore how you will build... Wood, hay, and straw (all earthly treasures) do not do very well in fire.  Pursue God, chase after His heart and not the things of this world.  His stripes are worth more that mere cars, money, houses and every other worthless thing we pursue here on earth. In God's eyes, they are only 'things' 'add-ons'.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.Matthew 6:33

So help us God.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Friendly Stranger


The bus dropped me off at Jakande bus stop as usual.  The day had been so hectic I stretched on the road not minding who was looking at me, my bones needed that stretch.

I looked left, right and left again then crossed over to the other side.  As usual, there was no bike thanks to the lovely BRF.  The thought of walking all the way home again made me groan physically.  I paused, looked up to the sky and asked the lord for strength to get home in one piece and survive Lagos.

I started walking down the road, I passed by the woman that sold yam, plantain and stew with cucumber, I always bought cucumber from her, but that day, I was too tired to even pause and buy.

“Aunty good evening.  You no buy today?” her daughter asked

“No, Mama good evening o, how market?” I replied acknowledging the girl and greeting her mum.

I kept walking after the pleasantries.  I looked back and saw a black jeep coming towards me.  I’m not very good with cars, so I don’t know what kind of jeep it was.  I only know it was one of those types that looked like a box with wheels.  I remember thinking to myself ‘here comes one of those box drivers again’.  I physically shook my head and gave way for the jeep to pass.  Mile 2 roads are that bad.

Surprisingly, the Jeep stopped and the window on the passenger’s seat slowly came down.  On a normal day, with how tired I was, I would have walked away, but when i saw the guy in the Jeep I was glued to the ground.

“Hi, can I give you a lift?”

“No, thank you” I said sharply and moved my legs.

“I’ll keep following you if you don’t talk to me”

Now that got me.  As fine as they guy was in his box, I sincerely didn’t want him to follow me home. I stopped and looked at him.

“What do you want” I asked.  Hoping my eyes were not betraying me and letting him see the effect his fineness was having on me.  Eyes have a bad habit of not minding their own business.

“Can I give you a ride home” he asked

“No, thank you.  I use this as my daily exercise” I replied.

“Ok, I’ll park my car and walk you home”

Is this guy crazy?  I thought to myself.  “And why would you do that?”

“Because I want to talk to you and since you don’t want me to give you a ride that seemed to be a great option b” he smiled

“Did I mention that I also like to reflect on my day and pray while I walk?  So, I don’t want any distraction” I said hoping to get him to give up and drive away.

“Well, how about I walk with you and not say a word until you get home and can talk to me.  I wouldn’t want to compete with God’s time… he’s a jealous God you know.” He giggled

I couldn’t help but laugh at that comment.  I imagined God frowning at the guy that minute.

“You have a very lovely way of laughing”

I suddenly became aware of his presence again and stopped laughing immediately. 

“We have to reach a compromise.  I am tired and I do not want you to give me a ride or walk me home and you want to talk to me.  

How about I give you my card, so you’d leave me alone to have my solitude walk, you can stay in your car and give me a call later to have that all important talk”

He smiled “That sounds like a plan to me”

I nodded, opened my bag and gave him my card.  He didn’t offer me his and I didn’t ask.  He thanked me, promised to call and drove off.

Honestly, I walked faster so I could get home before he called.  And you guessed right, I couldn’t reflect or pray either because a certain young man with a happy smile, driving a box filled my thoughts and I found myself smiling and looking forward to his call later that night as I walked home. 

When I stepped into the house, my phone rang.  I rushed to the living room dropped my bag and myself on the sofa, ignored my sister’s greeting and picked the call.

“Hello” I said trying to hide my excitement

“errrrm, I’m outside your house.  Can you step out please?”

Before I could protest, he hung up.  Still ignoring my sister, I walked out of the house and literarily ran to the gate.  When I opened it he smiled.

“You were not supposed to follow me home” I said.

“Are you going to ask me in?”

I apologized and asked him to come in.  Like PHCN knew, power came on that minute.  I ushered him into the living room.  My sister had seen us from the window and helped to clear all the mess before we came in… thank God for smart sisters.
When he sat down, I offered him water, but he turned it down.

“Seat down please” he said tapping the space beside him.

I walked over and sat facing him.

“How are you?” He asked.

The sincerity in his voice and eyes made me shiver.

“I’m fine, thank you.  You didn’t keep to our deal.” I managed to say.

He smiled and took my hands in his.  “When you came down from the bus and stretched, I saw you and thought, oh, she must be really tired.  Then you paused and looked into the sky and at that moment the Lord said to me ‘Give her a ride home’.  When you refused my offer, I did not argue because the Lord told me not to”.

His face assumed a more serious look “God told me to come tell you that what you are going through is only a phase that will not kill you but make you stronger.  He said he sees your heart and your longing to serve, he knows your desire to be with children instead of in an office.  Infact, He said that is what you always discuss with him every time you walk home after work.  He says I should tell you that though it tarries, the vision He has put in your heart will come to pass because He has a plan and you are right in the middle of it.”

“He also said he knows how tired you are and how many times you have been on the verge of giving up, but He says you should hold on because He is with you always and is working everything out for your good.”

I was crying because everything he said was true.   He pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped my tears.  “Finally he told me to tell you that He loves you.”  I didn’t follow you home, He told me where to find you and said I needed to deliver his message to you personally and not via a phone call.    Oh and yes… He said he has given you strength to survive in Lagos”

That made me laugh, I was still crying though.  He allowed me simmer down while he looked around the living room.

When I was calm, he said “You have a lovely home”

“Thank you.  You haven’t told me your name” I said.

“That’s not important my dear.  You’d probably never see me again.  Just call me a friend”.

“The friendly stranger?”

“That’s cool”

He stood up to leave.  I stood too, but I didn’t want him to go.  I didn’t want the moment to pass, I wanted to hold on to all that he had told me, I didn’t want to forget and he was the only tangible thing that would help me remember the message.

“What I just told you is right here” he touched my heart.  “You won’t forget it.”

I smiled. 

We walked to the gate and he said goodbye.  Then I realized he wasn’t even with his box(the jeep).  “How did you get here” I asked.

“Never mind” he smiled.

I thanked him for coming all the way to deliver the message. He gave me a hug and walked away.  When he was out of sight, a certain illumination flooded my heart and then I realized I had just been with an angel.