Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Unattractive Gifts of God

Most times, God’s gifts to us do not come in attractive packs. And it takes the help of the Holy spirit, plus our sensitivity to be able to discern such gifts. Many are times that we have missed God’s wonderful and ever sustaining gifts, because our eyes were being blinded, not by the devil but by our inability to recognize what comes from him.

This applies to our everyday living. The unattractive gift pack might come to you in the form of an instruction or leading which seem very uneasy and we are not just comfortable with it. We don’t even try it out to see if it works or not. 

All we are interested in is that beautiful, easier, and simpler way of doing things, forgetting that God’s ways are not ours. And it leads us to questioning God’s love for us. If he truly loves me like he claims, why and how would he send this ugly gift to me? Can’t he see how horrible this job, man, house, career, etc looks? He must hate me so much! God's love is better enjoyed when we let him take part in running the affairs of our lives.

 It may come in our love life. I was telling a friend not quite long about some foolish decisions I have taken because I wasn’t sensitive enough to what 
God has in stock for me. Was I even ready to let him talk? Didn’t I already had everything mapped out before I sought his counsel? And what were the end results? Failure! Yes, failure upon failure. 
 And that was when I would run back to God whose instructions I neglected.

Only if God would show us certain things right from the beginning of our lives, would we not miss out in life. But hey, God is not man. And he even said in his word, that the secret of the lord is with his people. That means, we can know the outcome of certain things before they start, only if we allow him talk to us about them.

I have listened to many married people said if they had known their spouses would come in the easiest way they did, they wouldn’t have wasted all the efforts, time, emotions and all sorts of good things on useless and ungodly relationships. Many have even made costly mistakes that their spouses are now partaking in the consequences. 

Only if we would give God the chance, to show us the way at all times. Only if we would be humble and patient enough to let him hold our hands and lead us till the very end because he cares for us. He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

Personally, I have dated and loved guys who I knew right from the beginning were not good but I went ahead and dated and loved them. Wonderful gifts for me. But what did I do? I overlooked that parts, and went ahead. Simply because they came in the most attractive packs you could ever think of. Only for me to end up heaping praises on God for not allowing the relationships work out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying God's gifts do not come in attractive packs. Of course, they do. But what I am saying in essence is that it takes a good listening and seeing skills to know exactly what is ours. 

That someone is a good man or woman doesn’t mean he or she is good for you. And that he or she isn’t good for you doesn’t make him or her, a bad or terrible person. He will be good for someone else. 
Some of the things might come late to us because God is taking us to a level which the things we want now would hinder. 

You may desire marriage, and because God knows that if you get married now, it will affect his future plans for you. Take for instance, may be God is working a big opportunity out for you in let’s say Abuja, and you presently leave in Ibadan where you are looking for a wife or husband. And because God knows that you getting married to your present would-be spouse will deny you that opportunity, he would rather you lose that relationship so you can take what rightfully belongs to you in Abuja. 

And he would have gone ahead to prepare your spouse alongside the opportunity. He may want you to be single for a period of time so that his good plans for you will come to pass.
And you know what? God will never force his gifts on you. He only presents you the proposal, which you are at liberty to either sign in agreement or otherwise. And you know what, God’s love remains constant. It doesn’t change. He will most times leave us to enjoy the goodness of our choices as well as the damaging consequences. He knows we would come running to him when it boomerangs. This has applied to me severally, and it is then I would realize I should have sought God’s face before embarking on such journeys.

This wonderful, but unattractive gift might come in friendship. The friend who will make wonderful and long lasting impacts on you may not fit into your class of people. It then takes your not looking down on people to recognize what such a person carries.

 It might come in form of a job you don’t like to do.May be because the pay is small, or it is not just what you want to do. But God just wants you there so as to use it to groom you for the bigger and better offer. You need the experience and expertise gathered from the unattractive to get the attractive, and to sustain it.

Dear readers, take a look at all your failures and the things you’ve had to suffer, and check if you communicated with God before you ventured into it. Why don’t you allow him take charge? Don’t take your decisions before seeking his counsel. You wouldn’t like same if someone does that to you. Things work well and better, when we let him take charge.

Dear friend, God may send you some valuable gifts wrapped in unattractive paper.  But do not worry about the wrappings, for you can be sure that inside He has hidden treasures of love, kindness, and wisdom.  If we will simply take what He sends and trust Him for the blessings inside, we will learn the meaning of the secrets of His providence, even in times of darkenss. -A.B. Simpson

 He knows we would come to that stage of decision making right from the beginning of age. Is he not the creator? I am a testimony of what you are sure going to enjoy, only if you would have a heart to heart talk on whatsoever decision there is to be made with him. He loves it when he is involved in the running of our activities.
 Lay your cards bare before him. You cannot trick or deceive him into supporting your decisions. 

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Friday, 3 November 2017

MY WIFE, MYSELF AND OUR BLOOD; A story of a love gone sour

   'Sometimes, love is not enough.' This is my own story.

It all started on a Thursday afternoon, after my usual interesting class for the day. The lecturer, Para, as we fondly called him, dazzled us all with his knowledge in the field and jokes and banters were top of the highlights of the class as usual. So I decided to unwind and chill at my isu-atewa (yam and beans) joint very close to the V.Cs office.

After ordering a plate of yam and peppered Ponmon (cow skin), this gently-slim and well-sculptured lady entered the joint. Assuming she were an animal, I would have called her zebra. If she were a bird, peacock is the right nick for her. If she were in heaven, that means she is an angel.

Well, at first, I thought to myself, this isn't your calling bro. But I was amazed as she made her order. She ordered exactly what I ordered and she sat on the vacant chair at my table. Well, I had a rethink, maybe this is my chance to see what my calling is at the moment or not.

After about five minutes of staring at her through the corner of my left eye, ‘Sorry to disturb you milady, but it is very rare to see ladies come in here, make order and sit to eat, I said after many moments of reluctance. She smiled without a word, looked at me, and had a bite on the peppered and soft ponmon. Well, perhaps you are the one in a million girl I do hear all around, I said obviously to compliment her. This time, she had swallowed the bite on the ponmon and she responded with a big smile, 'I get all these whenever I come here to eat. Guys do say that I am the only lady that eats here and as you can see, I am the only one here right now. I eat here every Thursday.'

Wow!, I  responded. And from there, we started talking and I gisted her about the lecture I had that day and about the lecturer. She had enough reasons to laugh and laugh. Well, I 'get' skills for 'womanology'  and I am just too good at winning  a girl's heart with jokes and lively chit-chats.

After several minutes of gisting over plates of yam and peppered ponmon, I finally found my brain.

"My name is Kay, sorry I didn't introduce myself earlier", I said with that 'Yoruba demon' smile plastered on my face. And with a smile, she responded, "call me Dammy."
We then shook hands with lots of smiles and big grins. We also exchanged numbers. You wouldnt expect me not to collect her phone number nah when I no be 'Õgbęni Nàgęrę'.

We started talking over the phone and Whatsapp did saved me some airtime. It went on and on for about three months before I fnally asked her out at our usual Thursday shrine (the joint), as we fondly called it and she agreed without much hesitation. We were both level mates. She studied English and I studied Mass communication. We graduated and we both started working. She works with a newspaper organization while I work as a media consultant.

We had been dating for about five years and everybody expects us to tie the knot soon. But on a Thursday afternoon (Thursdays have become our special day from the university), I had prepared my mind for whatever will happen. Today na today, I said with lots of confidence. I got to the venue of our date earlier than I used to. And twenty minutes later, my Madam Dearest walked in majestically and regally. She was putting on a fitting blue gown and a light make up.

Make I no lie you ehn, I lost balance at the first sight. I can't really explain how beautiful she was that day. It was as if she knew my plans.  I was lost in the view of this look and didn't notice when she got to where I was sitting with my well-ironed starched shirt. I just got a new body spray and I smelt like a prince from Kuvukiland.
"Hey charming", she greeted.

 I just looked at her with a stern look and replied with an emotionally starved hi. She paused for a while and I could see how puzzled she was.

"What’s wrong with you, Teminikan?" She asked with a confused look.

"Nothing, I responded shaking my head here and there like an Agama lizard.

She looked at herself and I could send she was wishing a mirror would appear so she could have a look at herself to see whether it was her dress or make-up that was the issue.

"I have something to tell you", I said with a very weak and worried voice and she sensed something was actually wrong and instantly became uncomfortable.

"Dammy, this isn't a good time and as you can see, I didn't order anything except this bottle of water", I said raising the bottle of water to show her. Then I looked straight into her eyes and continued with her right palm held firmly with my left fingers.

"I am sorry to say this on this special day of ours; for years now, you have been a very good partner and a great shoulder to lean on. But I'm sorry, our friendship will have to hit the rock", I said with all the seriousness I could gather.

Hearing this, she took her palm from me and felt like saying something, but the state of surprise she was couldnt let her. She went pale and her eyes were already laced with tears but she fought hard to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.

 "I know this will shock you but I have no other choice than to tell you. I want this friendship to stop. I don't want you as my girlfriend anymore. I am sorry Dammy, I can’t just continue." I said  throwing the last genade.

 Even though she tried harder, the tears still found a way to roll down her cheeks and she went mute and downcast. She couldnt believe all I was saying.

" You are joking right?" She asked. "I am very serious", I replied her.

Before she could say another word and act irrationally, I decided to tell her the truth because I was already feeling guilty for making her cry.

"I want you to be my wife, my eternal, my soul mate, the mother of my kids, the first person I want to see in the morning and the last person I want to see at night."

Slowly, her downcast head began to rise and a look filled with mixed feeling could be read on her face.

With a little smile, I added, "you are the woman I have always  dreamt of, and I have made up my mind. You are the only one I love."

 Then I grabbed her trembling hand and asked, "Will you marry me?"

I was expecting to hear her say a resounding Yes but what I got was a heavy slap, the type that will make you see your ancestors where they are in heaven which didn't miss its way because it landed on my right cheek, but I understood.

 Rather than a yes, she dragged me to herself and kissed me deeply. I could see the tears rolling down her cheeks. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! I will marry you now and in the other life, if it is possible, she said with lots of emotions.

She had been expecting this, I thought to myself. The day was like no other day. We had lots of fun. I made her do her make up again and we took lots of pictures and for the first time, I posted her pictures on my social media accounts. Trust friends and family now, Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! They were sounding like police escorts on the pictures.

Our love radiated like the early morning sun. It spread across the two families and believe me, I never had any reason to look at any other woman twice.

Let me break the ice on this, it was after the proposal that I had canal knowledge of her. She was still untouched. Although, I had made several advances when we were dating but she told me she would give in to no other man but her husband. Well, the two families started the wedding pressure. 'You are both old enough, working and doing just fine', our parents would say on and on.

Well, we began all the necessary steps to finalise our bound. All this while, we never bothered to ask each other about our blood groups and genotypes. To cut the story short, we both decided to visit a specialist hospital for all the necessary checkups.

 We were told to come the second day for the test results. We were both sure we were free from any form of disease or complication. But I had one doubt and a silent prayer, I know I am AS but she had never checked hers. So I have been praying she should be AA.

We went back to the hospital the second day and the doctor asked to see me in private. The doctor told us that the test results showed that we are both AS. We felt very bad about this. I have heard different people share their experiences about AS and AS union and the implications.

Trust women, she cried all day and through the night. I was the only pacifier; the pacifier that needed to be pacified too. I had to be strong so as to make her strong. Dammy has always been a very strong woman but that day, I couldn't explain what was going on with her.

We then decided to go to our pastor to inform him of what the situation was. Truly speaking, he said technology has opened our eyes to many things, especially the dangers in AS marrying another AS.

But trust love-birds, we told the pastor that there is nothing God cannot do; as he used to preach on the altar on Sundays and every other day.

After much talk and deliberations, my wife and I decided to go on with our marriage plans. We told our individual family that all is well. In our silent nights, we prayed and even had a seven days fast, for God to surprise us and never give us a sickle cell carrier as a child.

We had the wedding. It was colourful and was the talk of the town for months. After three months, she was confirmed to be two-months pregnant. Oh! We were going to have our first child. We argued over names for days; just like many new couples will do. After all the name wahala, we agreed that if it is a boy, I will pick the name and should she be a girl, she will pick the name. Seven months after, it was a boy. Omokunrin lanti lanti, as the Yorubas fondly call a new baby boy. I gave him Miracle and Precious.

We decided within us that we will take him to the hospital to check his genotype when he is six months old. My dear, he died when he was four months old. It then dawned on us that he could have been a sickle cell carrier.

It was a painful experience and sympathisers came as expected to console us. We alone knew where the shoe pinched.

After some months, she conceived again. Let me save you the details; it was another sickle cell carrier. This time, the baby boy didn't die peacefully even though he died at age three. He was always in and out of the  hospital. We thought we could save him. I even sold two out of my three cars and my wife sold the plots of land given to her as inheritance from her grandfather.
Semilore almost made us live in a rented apartment before his demise.

All our happy years turned to sorrow. We lost almost everything within a short period. He would be too cold in the mornings and extra hot at nights. There was no moment of happiness over the baby. I can’t even remember the last time we called each other pet names. Believe me, things are very hard right now for the family. I can’t even kiss her not to talk of making another baby.

This now brings me to the question: Should we continue or go our separate ways? Taking a look at my wife and how we started,  I don't want to lose her. But, at the same time, happiness has disappeared from our union.

Right now, I have travelled away from home in the guise of securing a contract, but I am staying with a friend in Ibadan, just to plan what next to do.

Kindly drop your beautiful thoughts on this in the comment's section.

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