Conversations on Absolutes and Relationships in God

Absolutes or not?
Wait up! You need to read this before you decide.

This was pithy. I hope it resonates and enlightens too.
See, one prayer that’s dear to me is that that my understanding becomes enlightened. Continuously.
May this post be an instrument for that to you.

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Hello there! Beloved Unyielding Defaulters. 😊❤
Yes. That’s my new moniker for every one who still has an active or inactive subscription to this blog.
I really hope you’ve been doing great during my time away. We may not go into the long story of why I’m here today but rest assured that God is still at work. Both to will and to do.
He’s not done yet and as believers, we follow to find out.
So I may be in your faces again, sooner than expected.

Love, Light & Hope.

Conversations of believers affirming God’s reality. Shared to enlighten and bring clarity.

I have been burdened these past couple days. So much so, I have been crying from experiencing the vicarious pain of some of my beloved ones.

I’ll tell you the remote cause in a minute.

But first, let me share what a seasoned father and teacher of the word said about the peace of God in relationships.

Fair warning; it may come across as a tough, uncomfortable pill. So here goes my paraphrase of what he said;

“Once a person is a believer( I’m talking about a true believer), the person is the will of God for you. Everyone who is a son is the will of God for you, as long as they are believers. Your role is to own this person. Own them as yours.”

“It’s our own will that prevents us from owning a person we…

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Child predators in Nigeria: a national security issue.

This succinctly expresses my views and concerns about violence against women and girls.
In the words of Jude Ilo, OSIWA’s country director; “Women(and girls) are abused because we do nothing.
It takes a lot of courage for survivors to speak out.
There is a mutuality of our humanity, in the sense that for every abuse victim,our humanity is diminished and so we are all victims by our common humanity. We shouldn’t think it happens to a few unfamiliar persons. It’s all too real and familiar.”

Litigation is all too important and so the provisions of the Violence against Persons (VAP) Bill should be fully adopted in this fight against violence against women and girls in the country. Our culture of silence must go into extinction.The pervasiveness of impunity must be arrested and people made to pay for what they’ve done.

Speak out today and save a life. Are you game?

Nwamaka Ogbonna

On Sunday 28th Feburary 2016, Punch Newspaper broke the news of Ese Oruru; a 14 year old girl who was abducted from her home in Bayelsa in August 2015 and taken to Kano by a 22 year old boy named Yinusa. Her mother, a petty trader, had tried to no avail to secure her release. It wasn’t until the story leaked to the media and civil society that  she was released to her parents on Tuesday March 1st.

Unfortunately the poor girl had been forcefully converted to Islam and was already 5 months pregnant. Now her education would have to be interrupted, at least till she has her baby. Most likely (although I hope not), she may join the burgeoning number of young girls in Nigeria suffering from Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF); by the way Nigeria has the highest prevalence of VVF in the whole world.She would also have to deal with…

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Being A Nigerian Woman

I pledge for parity today and I’m committed to advancing the rights and casuse of the girl child and women, beginning from my sphere of influence.
I will deliberately lend my voice to the campaign against education and career disparity, intimate partner violence, rape and all forms of abuse, female genital mutilation and ciurcumcision, stand for sexual and reproductive health rights awareness and equality and all other issues directly affecting women and girls worldwide.
#Africa4Her #IWD2016 #PledgeforParity #Planet5050

Eketi Ette's Blog

The first time you realise that life as a woman may not be so easy, is at debate club in primary school. The topic is male children are better than female children.

You listen as the lead speaker for our opponents says, “So with the these few points of mine, I hope I have been able to convince and not confuse you, dear co-debaters and impartial judges, that male children are better than female children.
The boys win, but that’s no surprise; they always do. As long as they make sure to mention that female children will get married and take on their husbands names male children will carry on the family name, they will win.

You grow up and each year brings you face to face with more disparity; it’s no longer debate club, but the boys are still winning, and unfairly so.
It’s stares you in the face…

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Second Chances.

I choose life. I choose expression. I choose giving. I choose learning. I choose stretching. I choose grace. I choose hope. I choose love. I choose second chances.
This is why I came. This is why I return.

Hey people! Can you forgive me?

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My sincere apologies…

Phew! So much has happened in the timespan of that loooooong hiatus, I have graduated, I have served(pictures later),

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I have worked, I have burnt out, I have laughed, I have cried, I have run to the end of myself, I have been marvelously helped, I have lost, I have gained and most of all, I have grown(I even went natural and one year, 7 months, two weeks and two days later, you should see my lioness mane😍).

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I'm so thankful!

Boy! Have I grown? If you knew half the reality checks 2015 slapped me with ehn.

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Look! I'm conquering my fear of animals

I certainly ain’t stopping, tough as it may be.
Therefore, in 2016, we move. Progress not motion. One light-guided step after another.

Its really come home to me how that the future is now and how critical it is to set the foundation for my adult life right, before I settle into regrettable patterns, years down the line.
I think its okay to ruffle feathers(if need be), shake and get out of the comfort zone, reach out and seize every bit of the wholesome life God intends for me.

I have deliberately decided to leave the haze, step up and pick up all the undeserving gifts(i’ve been blessed with and the thrill of purpose they bring) i abandoned like the foolish servant who had one talent. I have let go of pain and hurt and I live again.

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I reckon if God derives the pleasure I was created to give him, like some spring back effect, I would enjoy that pleasure too, in inconceivable measures.

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I am thankful for somborry whose consistency has stoked this fire.

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Frances!!!! Rock star! Phenomenal woman of purpose! I celebrate you!
Look! Can you count the stars? That’s how immeasurable your greatness is.
Don’t stop o. I will sue you if you ever entertain the thought.
In the spirit of gratitude, I’m super thankful for friends, for food,

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for hope, for church, for life, for energy, for good health, for mercies, for goodness, for miracles.
I am thankful.

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At the end of the year, I want to be able to look back and struggle to reconcile the woman I would have become with the woman I currently am. I want to give so much, I get empty and by God, I want to learn to receive. I want to trust, forgetting my strategy and following Him out beyond the shore into the waves.

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I want to walk/run this year, Godfident in the fact that He is the strength of my heart and portion forever.

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That Godfidence is the reason why I will leap out in faith for the impossible, knowing that He shows up just in time. Always.

Brief detour;
Wait up! So somebody cannot even play with you people again?:?😟, I’m barely done articulating my thoughts and resolutions in a draft and Ochuko buzzes to harass (he did not even beg or butter me up, friends sha!) me into sending an entry for his series in January. Hian. What happened to baby steps? *long-suffering sigh*

Now, here’s the icing on the cake people, or the actual cake sef. I’m not doing this on my own. Yaaay me! Lol. Its not laziness, its called wisdom. You see, this journey is long and I need my complete armor. I can’t afford to trifle with my defense and source of strength. So for all the Lastma’s who haven’t seen WAR ROOM (I think I’m irrevocably high on that life-giving movie),

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Prayer is a transformer! Walahi!

I suggest you do, so that when all the incredible things start unfolding and you can’t keep up, you won’t be at a loss or jealous. Hehehe.

I cannot not pray this year o. Do you know how much transformation it brings within and without?

The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much; maketh tremendous power available

Frankly guys, there’s nothing like the power prayer gives you. How can Deep call unto deep and authority won’t be exchanged? All that hi-tech download and you don’t get a factory reset? Gbagbe!
There is an awe-inspiring, confidence-boost state of the spirit that the result of praying brings.

Two short stories;
1. I wasn’t comfortable with a particular job description at work(comfortable in CAPS) and I’m too confrontation-shy for my own good. So, I said a prayer. People, God took me seriously, because next thing I knew, a colleague was handling it and yet, not one word about it between my boss and I.

2. Two esteemed folks were going out. Do let me chip in at this point, that I’m usually clueless about these things and always the last to know.
So, these guys had been dating right under my very before and I didn’t know shishi. Lol. Apparently, they dated, broke up and weren’t speaking for awhile(might I add that they serve in the same team). A superior intervened and they got back to talking.
Fast forward to some months later, something happened, tempers flew, words were hurled like missiles and drastic decisions were taken. Typical Lizzie still didn’t know anything until dude buzzed to tell me and I’m like this

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He talked and shared and I listened and long story short, he was going to give an eye for an eye. I talked, pleaded and explained that he couldn’t do that, what example was he showing, what was the point of being different then, with a claim to knowing and expressing the God-kind of love? After awhile, I saw he wasn’t budging, so I smiled and I recall saying, “Don’t worry, I know how to handle your case”
Brethren, I said a prayer in the shower o, declaring God’s peace and will established and in under 24 hours, dude reached out to say he apologized(even though he was the aggrieved party) and all was settled. Ah! I was (still am) in awe.

What’s more? These testimonies are but a tip of the iceberg; more outstanding victories to be secured in the war room. I mean, what or who is too hard for God to handle? Wey them?

Look what prayer does to you; by default, it’s like this cool, calm and collected front you present on the outside, but on the inside, its a brimming water cauldron, heated up by the gragra you display in your prayer closet, Godfident beyond doubt that nothing is impossible.
Guys, I want to emanate a different fragrance, the kind that’s potent enough to alter every environment I walk into, all because I got intimate with God.
Ah! That got my spirit so excited, it leapt!
You game? Lezzdodis fam!!!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! 🎉🎊🎉🎇🎆🎀🎉
Here’s praying you enjoy an enriching, wholesome year in which God will be the strength of your heart and your very own compass for immeasurable progress!

Remember, living resplendently(Yes! My trademark is back. 😜) is now by force. So feel free to do it one light-guided step after another.

In E’s (Great woman. O thou lastma, follow her blog already : http://www.eziaha.com) words, “Don’t let nobody steal your happy(read as joy) or hope either”.

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P.s; Don’t fret. There’s strength available.
P.p.s; I intentionally put these many pictures for the benefit of those who have forgotten what I look like. Its okay. You’re forgiven and you are welcome too.

I’m Getting Married at 22 and Apparently That Upsets People on the Internet

Two words; Pithy and Profound!

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Photography courtesy of Caitlin Skinner Photography.

A few years ago, I was in a pretty low place. Like, Garth Brooks kind of low place. I was your average college student, facing the stress and rigor of attending school full-time, working, attempting to be social, and trying to swim my way out of an abusive relationship. I was stuck there, in a relationship with someone who I thought I was in love with, who I thought was my soul mate, who I thought would one day tie our daughter’s shoes on her first day of school. I was so convinced that he was the source of my happiness, the one person who really understood me, and the person I would be with forever, that I was blind to his constant manipulation and made excuses for his aggression. One day – and to this day I’m still lost as to how…

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Phenomenon after my heart.

I know…I know…*drops face in palms in remorse*..even I can’t get over the shock and whilst I can’t declare an official end to this hiatus or promise an expected time, let’s just say phenomenal people elicit the incredible and the unexpected. . 

 

***Long post alert! Couldn’t help it***

You see, I find that i’m best friends with old souls regardless of time and space. There’s something to be said for perspicacious individuals who you see yourself in, especially one you probably never met. 

And so today, I dedicate this tribute to the grandmother I never met, a phenomenal woman in all shades, colours and hues- Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson). She was a prolific, award-winning author, poet, actress, academic and civil right activist amongst many other things. 

    I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. I’ll probably be writing when the Lord says, ‘Maya, Maya Angelou, it’s time.’

Maya Angelou

 

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Of course I should have you know we are kinda related as we share something really significant in common. Before your curiosity eats you up, let me kindly share that her birthday is just two days ahead of mine. She was born on the 4th of April {that remarkable month where only resplendent people make their entry into the world 😉 } 

You see? Really close. I’m sure you catch my drift. 😀

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Pardon my lack of photo editing skills, but you just humour me and (try really hard to)picture a spate of silver hair right in the same position in my new haircut and there you have the granddaughter she never met. Told ya! 😀

 

It hurt to hear of her passing today even at age 86, but I choose to celebrate her life, a life lived in spite of the odds and limitations against, a life that gave, a life that loved, a life that sang, a life that read, a life that wrote, a life that savored nature’s blessings, a life that was open, humourous, truthful and human at the core of its essence. Maya was a Life c̶o̶a̶c̶h̶ ̶ Teacher. Oh! How she taught!

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Rest your soul Maya! We love that you lived fearlessly, fully and wholly and that you were a rainbow in the cloud of millions, world over. Thank you for being a life-giving spirit and an inspiring one as well.

 

Sleep on woman after my heart!

Maya Angelou(April 4, 1928- May 28, 2014)

 

I am going to share below, her profound quotes that resonated.

 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”

 

“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”

 

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

 

”Nothing will work unless you do.”

 

”Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

 

”Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

 

”Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

 

“I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody.”

 

”Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

 

”Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”

 

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

 

“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.”

 

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

 

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

 

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

 

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

 

“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

 

“Hold those things that tell your history and protect them. During slavery, who was able to read or write or keep anything? The ability to have somebody to tell your story to is so important. It says: ‘I was here. I may be sold tomorrow. But you know I was here.”

 

“My life has been one great big joke, a dance that’s walked, a song that’s spoke, I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.”

 

“I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.”

 

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

 

“I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard.”

 

“I have a feeling that I make a very good friend, and I’m a good mother, and a good sister, and a good citizen. I am involved in life itself – all of it. And I have a lot of energy and a lot of nerve.”

 

“We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.”

 

“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”

 

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”

 

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

 

“My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son. My next greatest blessing has been my ability to turn people into children of mine.”

 

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

 

“If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”

 

“I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.”

 

“I’m considered wise, and sometimes I see myself as knowing. Most of the time, I see myself as wanting to know. And I see myself as a very interested person. I’ve never been bored in my life.”

 

“If you’re serious, you really understand that it’s important that you laugh as much as possible and admit that you’re the funniest person you ever met. You have to laugh. Admit that you’re funny. Otherwise, you die in solemnity.”

 

“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay – and rise!”

 

“Whenever something went wrong when I was young – if I had a pimple or if my hair broke – my mom would say, ‘Sister mine, I’m going to make you some soup.’ And I really thought the soup would make my pimple go away or my hair stronger.”

 

“We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike.”

 

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels”.

 

“I am never proud to participate in violence, yet I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves that we can be ready and able to come to our own defence when and wherever needed.”

 

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

 

“A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see, because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

 

“Growing up, I decided, a long time ago, I wouldn’t accept any man-made differences between human beings, differences made at somebody else’s insistence or someone else’s whim or convenience.”

 

“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.”

 

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

 

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

 

“I believe we are still so innocent. The species are still so innocent that a person who is apt to be murdered believes that the murderer, just before he puts the final wrench on his throat, will have enough compassion to give him one sweet cup of water.”

 

“Like a pianist runs her fingers over the keys, I’ll search my mind for what to say. Now, the poem may want you to write it. And then sometimes you see a situation and think, ‘I’d like to write about that.’ Those are two different ways of being approached by a poem, or approaching a poem.”

 

“I read the Bible to myself; I’ll take any translation, any edition, and read it aloud, just to hear the language, hear the rhythm, and remind myself how beautiful English is.”

      (Ah! Woman after my heart indeed! She gets my love for this language beyond the superficial. *sigh*)

 

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

 

“Life loves the liver of it.”

 

“I know that I’m not the easiest person to live with. The challenge I put on myself is so great that the person I live with feels himself challenged. I bring a lot to bear, and I don’t know how not to.”

 

“All of us knows, not what is expedient, not what is going to make us popular, not what the policy is, or the company policy – but in truth each of us knows what is the right thing to do. And that’s how I am guided”.

 

“I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”

 

“I love the song ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack. I was going to write that song, but someone beat me to it.”

 

“I’m interested in women’s health because I’m a woman. I’d be a darn fool not to be on my own side.”

 

“I speak a number of languages, but none are more beautiful to me than English.” 

(Ah! You see? You see?)

 

“When a person is going through hell, and she encounters someone who went through hellish hell and survived, then she can say, ‘Mine is not so bad as all that. She came through, and so can I.”

 

“If you will have a person enslaved, the first thing you must do is convince yourself that the person is subhuman. The second thing you have to do is convince your allies so you’ll have some help, and the third and probably unkindest cut of all is to convince that person that he or she is subhuman and deserves it.”

 

“I love the melodies in the Old Testament, how preachers highlight them when they read from the Scripture. But I was influenced forever by the New Testament. I love the Beatitudes, informing us that the meek shall inherit the earth.”

 

“All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.”

 

“My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring still.”

 

“One of the wonderful things about Oprah: She teaches you to keep on stepping.”

 

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as autobiographical fiction. If I say it happened, it happened, even if only in my mind.”

 

“I long for the time when all human history is taught as one history, because it really is.”

 

“When I write, I tend to twist my hair. Something for my small mind to do, I guess.”

 

“Timidity makes a person modest. It makes him or her say, ‘I’m not worthy of being written up in the record of deeds in heaven or on earth.’ Timidity keeps people from their good. They are afraid to say, ‘Yes, I deserve it.'”

 

“The only thing is, people have to develop courage. It is most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtues consistently.”

 

“When younger writers and poets, musicians and painters are weakened by a stemming of funds, they come to me saddened, not as full of dreams and excitement and ideas. I am then weakened and diminished, and made less rich.”

 

“Those of us who submitted or surrendered our ideas and dreams and identities to the ‘leaders’ must take back our rights, our identities, our responsibilities.”

 

“I’m a serious aficionada of country music – Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry. I’ve even written some songs. They haven’t done anything of mine yet. But it’s only a matter of time.”

 

 

See her beloved Oprah’s tribute

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      “I’ve been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20’s,” Winfrey said following news of Angelou’s death. “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. The world knows her as a poet but at the heart of her, she was a teacher. ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give’ is one of my best lessons from her.

She won three Grammys, spoke six languages and was the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. But what stands out to me most about Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence and a fierce grace. I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds.”

 

And Tyler Perry

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      “There have only been a handful of people in my life who have moved me, inspired me, encouraged me, and helped mold the man I amtoday. One of those people would be Dr. Maya Angelou. She was a woman I called ‘friend,’ ” Perry said. “Her words and her spirit are too powerful to leave this earth with her passing. Her legacy and poems will take wings, forever landing at the foundation of anything that betters humanity. Dr. Maya Angelou will live on in all of us who called her a phenomenal woman, phenomenally.”

 

Here’s Obama’s heartwarming tribute.
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“When her friend Nelson Mandela passed away last year, Maya Angelou wrote that ‘No sun outlasts its sunset, but will rise again, and bring the dawn,” said Obama in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.”

Obama said Angelou’s background as a storyteller should be most cherished.

“Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things – an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer. But above all, she was a storyteller – and her greatest stories were true. A childhood of suffering and abuse actually drove her to stop speaking – but the voice she found helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds, and inspired the rest of us to be our best selves.  In fact, she inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya,” Obama said.

“Like so many others, Michelle and I will always cherish the time we were privileged to spend with Maya. With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God’s children; that we all have something to offer,” Obama added. “And while Maya’s day may be done, we take comfort in knowing that her song will continue, ‘flung up to heaven’ – and we celebrate the dawn that Maya Angelou helped bring.”

P.s; Did I mention she’s got a certain semblance in persona&strength of character to the late Nelson Mandela? I even think they looked alike in old age. 

 

May the seeds she’s sown replicate beyond a hundred fold towards a richer humanity.

P.p.s; Shout out to Zeezy of life for her invaluable help in getting this post published. Bless your heart! Please read this rich tribute from the FAB sister.I enjoyed her angle http://eziaha.com/2014/05/29/i-hope-you-dance/.

Till we meet again, keep living resplendently!

 

 

Cheers!

….On Hope and Possibilities.

Really, the incredible capacity of the human mind is only exceeded by the power of challenges. They stretch and birth possibilities. The story i’m about to share reaffirms this fact.

Now, i’m the one person who gushes on and on when I read very remarkable fiction and wonders how these writers even come up with those mind-numbing twists. I even harangue them for more stories and request to be in their head, just for a day. Lol.

Long story short, a friend approached me one evening after church service, saying she wanted to run a series on her blog http://www.ronnieotega.wordpress.com , where each writer would send in a story depicting one of the markers of the Love nature as found in 1 Corinthians 13. See my reaction;

“Uhn? You say?”

“Dear God! See embarrassment o”

“Where do I begin?”

“Why don’t I just write a normal piece on one of the Love-markers?”

” *sigh*.Lord, what are you trying to do me through this?”

“Okay, i’ll give it a try but am counting on inspiration from you, I shall not be put to shame, afterall HOPE in God makes not ashamed,”
Ironically, She had asked me to write on, “Love always HOPES” .
So, I gave my word and promised to send it in on a certain date.

And then, the battle began! I thought and thought, conjured& discarded bright&dim ideas alike, even thought about sharing a personal story, all to no avail.
By the day of submission, I had a skeletal story line and was p̶a̶n̶i̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ praying in the Holy Ghost. I actually thought about running away after service…Lol. Anyways, she c̶a̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ saw me and I groveled&begged for an extension. She graciously accepted.

Finally, I sent in my entry aaaaand surprise surprise! she liked it!
Ladies and Gentlemen, much to my chagrin, I present,

LOVE IS….ALWAYS HOPES

Her eyes strayed to the words on the piece of art on the wall and she sighed. It read,  

“Hope is the ability to hear the melody of the future, Faith is the courage to dance to it today”- Anon.

Dayo, her husband, liked to collect these things, Tara mused, as she squirmed on the arm of the sofa she was perched on. It was a vantage position, she could see the clock and still peer behind the curtains to monitor movement at the gate.

At last count, she was sure she had pulled those curtains a hundred times, silently willing the gate to emit that characteristic exasperated sound it gave at the slightest touch, like it was its legal right to protest being opened.

Tara Peters looked at the clock again and let out an inaudible gasp. She always wondered why those hands rarely moved when you were looking at it, as if there was a plan to pass the time and catch you unawares.

“Where was Toke at this time of the night?”

She knew Toke couldn’t be in, she had gone through the house, calling her name without response, she had even sought her at her favourite spot outside the kitchen window to no avail. 

“Please help me dear Lord, I’m at my wits end here. How much worse would this get before it becomes better Lord”? Tara asked herself as she shook her head to stop the kaleidoscopic rush of repressed images; images she was beginning to think she would never forget.

How did you forget a blood-curdling scream that seeemed to announce a violent change in the order of your life? How did you?

She had run out that day to be greeted with the sight of Tomi’s body placed at an unnatural angle in Toke’s arms under a vehicle’s bonnet. Her first thought had been to yell at their fearless curiosity and rough play. What were they doing under a bonnet?

Long before she stopped taking those guilt trips, she had beat herself up countlessly for that thought. Why hadn’t she been more worried than upset? Why had she even allowed them go ‘people-watching’ that afternoon? Who could blame her? Many other women would have lost their sanity at the DUI freak accident that took her son.     

Toke and Tomi, bubbly yet intense old souls whose remarkably identical personas was only marred by the difference in gender. Oh! How she loved them both. They colored her world in exciting shades and hues. God had smiled on her twelve long years after five miscarriages, four failed IVF procedures and an adoption. She and Dayo had bawled like babies themselves in the labour room that day.

The joy had gone, like that chilling scream promised, the house became a shadow of itself. Herself, Dayo, Folarin (her adopted son) and Toke walked in a haze, barely seeing or hearing the throng of sympathizers whose fervent words of encouragement was merely a cover for their ineptitude.

She saw through it all, the way they squirmed in the bid to comfort and she found mirthless humour in them. Why didn’t they just stay away? Tara couldn’t see the signs, blinded with grief the way she was. What did she expect? She herself had been unable to heal or even bring herself to accept the Love she knew was reaching out to her.

She wanted to carry it, this guilt, apparently she was the reason why good things didn’t last for them. How did she think Toke wouldn’t have done the same, carry the blame of a death she had witnessed? It should have been a given, what with their history. Toke always took the blame whenever they got into trouble.

She saw the selfless love Toke had for Tomi and how he got off severally without blame. She should have known. It wasn’t long, Toke stopped eating, looked without seeing and began acting weirdly, her emotions swinging like a pendulum, even recoiling from the regular affectionate gestures she was raised with.

School became a chore, a daily battle infact and her results suffered. Tara began to see and fear for her mental health.  It was like Toke just gave up on life, not even bothering to make an effort. That was when Tara wept for her, her daughter was too young to experience this much pain. 

When Dayo suggested therapy sessions, she jumped at the idea. Little was she prepared for the shocking discovery these sessions would bring to light. Toke was a cutter. Tara had been too devastated to function. In her brokenness, she had cried, letting go of her precarious hold on those reins, knowing she couldn’t go any further and literally thrown herself into God’s arms. It was the beginning of the end.

Tara began to thaw out as she returned to God, drawing totally from His strength, intensifying prayers for Toke’s healing and devouring scores of materials on Cutting while she waited consciously for the end. It was a tough struggle; those severe bouts of depression, the times when Toke would relapse after marked improvement.
Tara had learned a different kind of love, the patient one without reserve.

A whimper jolted Tara’s thoughts. You didn’t become a mother without paying attention to sounds.  As she walked briskly in the direction of the sound, she heard heartwrenching sobs coming from the empty room closest to the study. The one Toke and Tomi always made a mess in, to her exasperation.

This sob was familiar though, it carried the same pain she heard during the early nightmarish episodes Toke suffered. She rounded the corner and happened upon the sight of Toke crying and hugging herself on the floor, holding tightly to Tomi’s favourite jeans, the one with a hole in the knee.

Instinctively, she ran and carefully wrapped her in a hug, so she wouldn’t hurt her cuts. That was when she heard the words,

“Help me, I need you, I’m tired” and Tara cried again, in awe of answered prayers.

Those words were the catalyst, releasing pent-up pain, anger and hurt. That was where Dayo met them after what seemed like an eternity but was probably an hour. When she sensed his presence and looked up, the look on his eyes echoed hers. The healing had begun.

Beyond the answers therapy could provide, Love transcended. It was a testament to Love’s unfailing hope; the fadeless kind, regardless of circumstance. Toke had come home. 

The next day, a new, resplendent wall art lit up the sitting room. It read,  

“Where there is Love, there is Hope that heralds miracles”   

“A person  might cut because of losing someone close or to escape a sense of emptiness. Some people who cut have had a traumatic experience, such as living through abuse, violence, or a disaster.

Self-injury may feel like a way of “waking up” from a sense of numbness after a traumatic experience. Or it may be a way of reliving the pain they went through, expressing anger over it, or trying to get control of it. Opening up is usually the first ice-breaker.
Love and therapy can kickstart a healing process. ” 

P.s: You should visit her blog, http://www.ronnieotega.wordpress.com to enjoy the other entries. My word! Those writers are remarkable!

Now, let’s hear it. Your kind opinions on my work. *covers face*

Hey! Who gave you those wheels?

Lizzie- “Daddy, why don’t you just relax and let us do the driving?, you’ve been working all day, it won’t hurt to put your feet up and relax at the backseat with your wife jor”. I drawled in an exasperated tone.

Daddy- ” *chuckles* but i’m not complaining now”

Lizzie- ” *sighs* i’m not saying you are, why don’t you ever release this car for somebody to drive ehn?

Daddy- ” ahn-ahn, but that’s not true, I release the car ”

Lizzie- “No, you don’t and my driving skills are getting rusty, *insert woebegone look*
Never mind, we will be leaving very soon and i’ll soon buy my own car *pouts* ”

Brother& Mother- “concurs and puts in words to convince daddy ”

Daddy- “Okay Okay, I hear you all”, turns to brother and hands him the key.

Lizzie- ” *grins and sharply jumps into the front passenger seat beside brother* ”
A few meters ahead, daddy let’s out a surprised laugh. Everyone in the car turns to him, “What happened, What’s funny?”
Now, there’s a bad spot daddy had learned to manoeuvre his way around all this while he’s been in control of the wheels. On getting there, he unconsciously put his foot forward to apply the brakes from the back seat where he was seated. We shared a good laugh and teased him. Apparently, this was to occur throughout the short 10-15 minute drive. *insert long-suffering sigh*
Daddy either telling brother to slow down here or change gear there or turn here…and on and on….
When we expressed exasperation, he would justify his actions, going on&on about how difficult it is to relinquish complete control of the wheels to another driver if you are a seasoned driver yourself.
Lol.

This happened in December 2013 when I went home for the Christmas holiday and I paid no mind to it until the 2nd of February this year. I had boarded a cab to church that beautiful Sunday morning and was ruminating.
Not long after I noticed the tight grip I had on the driver’s head rest as we approached the narrow bends that defined that road. Now,this wasn’t my first(nor last) time on that road , but I held on to the head rest like I didn’t trust the driver could get us through the tricky spots on the road without my help or annoying prodding about where to apply the clutch or the brakes.

Have you ever boarded a bus or cab and bemoaned your fate because a fellow passenger troubled everyone’s peace with exclamations, comments and stories at every turn, pothole or bump? Aha! That’s how much of a nuisance your fear can constitute to God’s ability.
I haven’t got the time to tell you about a rickety, road-unworthy bus I boarded one evening for lack of options and the women who almost made me miserable with their screams&shouts? If I recall correctly, the gear of the bus didn’t catch on application, the bus would slow down(almost to a crawl in the middle of the road), gurgle, sing, croak and then move to the gear the driver applied. Lol.

Anyways, as I was about to laugh at my grip that screamed CONTROL-FREAK, the incident narrated above flashed before me and then it hit me. This wasn’t an out-of-the-norm behaviour. It had become my default. Infact, because I like y’all 😉 , i’ll share how my friends always lamented my inability to trust ’em to do anything right by me and how poorly it made them feel. I had to consciously learn to stop giving orders and going ahead to get the job done.
I had perfected the art of trusting in my abilities(who gave me said abilities in the first place?) or in my logical-planner nature underrate the excellence of God’s better plan. Like my daddy, how many times was I unwilling to let go and let God especially in the seemingly little things?
Trust I perceive, is all-round, you either trust or you don’t, no half-measures or levels.

” Proverbs 3:6… In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths”
Let God in ALL not some areas of your lives, right down to the mundane nitty-gritty. He is that concerned about our lives.

When I only trust God enough for the BIG miracles or needs and in my abilities for the seemingly small mercies, its a challenge to God’s commitment and ability to take care of me. I’m saying,
” Look God! This is the much you can do, nothing more. Never mind, I can do b̶a̶d̶ ̶ all by myself”

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; ” Proverbs 3:5

”  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

” And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. ” Psalm 9:10
If you belong to God and know His name, trusting God is expected of you,it should be your default. Why wait till you can’t handle control of the wheels anymore before crying out?
I recall a pastor once poking fun at the “Jesus take the wheels song” we are quick to sing at the first sight of trouble. He simply asked, “What were you doing with the wheels in the first place? Who send you?”. Lol.

Really, who gave you the wheels? Answers anyone?

Scripture testifies that God is bankable, His guide dependable. You can trust that when you let go and let Him, you definitely got the best part of the bargain.
Here, take a look,
” As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. ” Psalm 18:30

” Job 23:10a says, But He knows the way that I take; ”

Here’s how the Message version put it.

” 10-12 – But he knows where I am and what I’ve done. He can cross-examine me all he wants, and I’ll pass the test with honors. I’ve followed him closely, my feet in his footprints, not once swerving from his way. I’ve obeyed every word he’s spoken, and not just obeyed his advice—I’ve treasured it. ”

You see, God used that short introspection on my way to church to point out an unbecoming trait in my relationship with Him. I needed to step back and walk in His footsteps(in tandem not ahead). God is a responsible God who already makes a way before the need arises and determines that way perfect, so He isn’t throwing you out on a limb, He only asks that we trust Him well enough to come on this journey with the heart&innocence of a child who doesn’t question the direction you are pointing him/her towards.
Can we be like that child, saying. ” Papa, what’s next?”
See what the incredible Message version says in Romans 8,
” 15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! ”

Folks, there’s ease in God, you need not learn by experience, its afterall the most horrible teacher. Yes, I said so! Why not let God teach you? Why not unlearn the old patterns and learn new, exciting ways following Him teaches us? How about we stop undermining His inexplicable love for us that’s got our best interests at heart& hand over those reins? Can you trust him for answers?

I could go on and on, but you catch my drift.
Can we Let go and Let God already?

My name is Lizzieebunoluwa and I ain’t holding no wheels!

Peace, Love and Letting God.

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Strength amplified in weakness!!!

Proverbs 4:22
“…..for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body. ”

Hey’yo people! I have a testimony!
*big grin*. Once I was ill, now I am healed. Praise God! *chuckles*
Seriously though, its very easy to take good health for granted until pain and discomfort racks your body and you wish a faucet can be turned off to stop the symptoms.

This is how it all began. Lol, I can see some eyeballs widening and ears perking up. Okay, i’ll be serious now.
By Wednesday last week, I had reluctantly begun to prepare my faculties for that woman’s visit. Unlike some other ladies, we’ve never been friends. There is no love lost between us. So by Thursday, I had this gut instinct that it wasn’t going to be a normal day.
My Supervisor had given me stuff to do on my project, the day before and we agreed I would report back on Friday, so I got to work on my laptop, you know forming serious student 😉 when that ache at my lower back began and I couldn’t sit still in a position. I kept twisting but refused to acknowledge the possibility, so I didn’t get up till my battery went low, I hibernated and went to have a bath. Alas! my suspicions were confirmed.

I soldiered on, figuring it won’t be the first nor the last episode in a long while, so I might as well brace up and breeze through it. It was to prove me wrong later that night. Because I like to keep my word, I decided to sleep over in a dear friend’s apartment to make use of their reliable power supply in order to turn in my work to my supervisor the next day. Haha! Fat chance! Abi mo ti se ise ni

Then it started. Now, in my own little way, i’m no stranger to pain, (varying degrees and types.) and in my not so few years of paying my monthly dues I have never, not that I can remember (and i’ll have you know memories that are personal to me NEVER get displaced, good or bad, past or present) experienced such excruciating pain. (I reserve the right to exaggerate. I know what I felt. Sue me)

Anyways, the pain began and it became a battle of who is the strongest. At first, I would just moan and take a deep breath, rub my tummy, cuddle up etc.
People! My tear ducts rebelled in no time and I bawled like a baby. Pain is real yo!
I was gonna go easy on your sensibilities and not describe what it felt like. I changed my mind. Just because…..

A little bit though about how it felt. 😀
It felt like there was a sharp knife or nail piercing through and scraping the walls of my stomach in a rhythmic movement. Suffice it to say, its better imagined than experienced. I’m glad my cries didn’t wake up my friend’s neighbours, would have been super embarrassing. My friend says I finally slept at past one. I didn’t even know when I calmed down enough to have slept off.
By the next morning, I felt like I had fought a physical battle. My body felt bruised up all over, (bruises I couldn’t see though) my limbs and joints ached. The mean pain now stopped, after leaving me defenseless *side eye* mscheew.
Malaria parasites then kicked in, at my very lowest ebb. choi! See amazon Lizzie turn dependant. Smh.

Here’s where I am going folks, in all of this, I surrounded myself with what I consider the best form of immunity or medicine. THE WORD! (my family and friends didn’t find my refusing drugs funny)
I kept repeating scriptures and confessions over and over, I changed my personal message on blackberry time and again. I decided I was going to believe God and I stayed believing. At the slightest progress, I would exclaim and make a big deal of it in praise.
By Sunday, I got up and decided to cook. Physically I had no energy, but I decided I was going to see myself as healed and act as one.
I was hungry and being the independent mule i’ve been known to be, I got the rice cooking, blended the tomatoes&pepper by a hand grater(of all the methods in the world) and set to cooking. Folks! Cooking has never been more fulfilling. By the time I was done, I was spent! Nothing comes close to the joy I felt after cooking.
I ate, slept and went to church about two hours later.
I still believed.
By the time I would retire at night, a pounding headache decided to escort me to bed. shuo!
I still believed.
Early this morning, the headache was still gripping me from the base of my skull. I told God his strength was made perfect in my weakness and slept in.
As noon rolled around, I was way stronger! Fast forward to this evening, I fetched water!
Yaaaaaay!!!!!!

God came through for me. He heals and is still in the business. You just gotta stay in faith. God’s word works!
Now, I don’t know why I had to start off the not-so-new-anymore year with ill-health, not especially after the 7 days power packed programme hosted by my church that ended a couple days before the pain visited. I may not get to understand why. But i’m glad for this affirmation that God’s Word can be and is indeed my Reality.

Regardless of what you are trusting Him for, Stay believing in His word. Its Life to live by.

Shout-out to Pastor Dami, Nnedinma, my younger sister, my mum, Jubilee and friends who dished out TLC in their large dosage. God bless y’all.
Me is fine and dandy now!
School resumes tomorrow. I press on.

Don’t forget to turn on the lights!

Lizzie.

SSJC…4

Ehen, so you guys didn’t harangue me for my inconsistency in posting the SSJC series afterall? *sigh*.
I’m thankful for Shola whose bbm message gave the push to the resolve my heart was already leaning towards in the last couple of days.

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Lol. He actually harangued me with my own words, copied and pasted.
Seriously though, I would REALLY appreciate feedback on this study series. Thank you BIGly.

How’s the month coming along already? I hope you are taking the time and effort to appropriate the platform new beginnings(such as this phase) offer us. So, get that journal, pen down that vision, get to work and enjoy the results as the clock ticks.
This year, I intend to try less(or more sef)to save the world. I can’t seem to make up my mind…Lol.
Its however a no brainer that i’m still gonna reach out, inspire and minister to, till I am spent! By God!

Oh well, its only expected that we continue from where we stopped. There isn’t much to be said for half measures…yes?. So the book of Psalms it is.

Psalms 1:3 (amp version)
And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

Prayer.
Father, Let the light that comes from the entrance of your word save our souls and set us on the path of living according to your will through the access we have by Faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

We established in the previous studies, the markers of the blessed or righteous man. Do visit previous posts in this category so you can follow along. We opined that the foundation of the blessed man is God’s word! At creation, God’s word brought forth and God’s word blessed and caused to multiply.

Today, the scripture under consideration, takes us further to the specific degrees or forms of what a blessed man will enjoy. Scripture says, “He shall be like a tree, firmly planted” . Normally the image a tree(not shrub o) brings to mind is one of strength, stability, sturdy, you name it. Now, to be firmly planted signifies extra depth, extra zeal, extra talent etc. It signifies immunity to crippling elements.

A blessed man is thus firmly planted (stable) and tended by the streams of water. The common saying, “Water is life” comes to mind. If water enlivens, vitalizes and contributes to the nourishment of the physical body, how much more its role in a spiritual analogy, such as this. Its safe to opine therefore, that Water is a necessary ingredient to the stability and well-being of a blessed man.

However, when we say water here, we mean the word. So, you see? The word is the defining prerequisite of the blessed man, just like we established in the preceding studies in the series. You can’t be blessed or thrive outside of God’s word. Its His word that tends to your soul. Scripture mirrors a prototype of the blessed man in its analogy of a tree by the river that is fruitful as a result of its proximity to water, a timeless life source.

God’s word is our lifeline! It is light to live by. What births a thing sustains it. If an individual is born of the word, its a no brainer that the word would be the all-encompassing nutritional package he/she requires for sustenance.

I have learnt that a repeated revelation is a significant one. In the last couple of the days, the emphasis (from most quarters,including this)on our absolute dependence on God’s word reaffirms the need to exist by the word. Its practicable for every situation, including the seemingly mundane. Its the manual for our lives. To enjoy the identity of the blessed man, it behoves us therefore to draw our essence from the word.

STUDY GOD’s WORD!!!!

Did you notice how scripture says, a tree planted by the river? I reckon this means, a tree can be planted anywhere else,but the marker of a blessed man is one planted by water. People, our association and location matters!!!
Where are you planting yourself? What’s your source of nutrition? Water by the word? Rivers of living water by the spirit? What materials serve as your ‘water’ today?

Folks, does anything beat being a firmly planted, thriving tree? Would you make a conscious decision to be tended by the right water? How about enjoying the dividends of a blessed man’s identity?

Lemme add before I close,(Treasures abound in God’s word sha!) that water as a river is dynamic, not static. It flows….yes? It adds refreshing, it fosters growth. Its ever fresh&new. Its uninhibited. God’s word (whether read, heard or ministered) should cause a refreshing, an upward-forward and unlimited growth. In another light, God’s word should flow through you to change and affect people, situations and environment around you. There’s power in God’s word. Don’t cage its potency. Unleash it!

I have to stop now, its a study, so there’s no hurry. Let the little seeds take root and come home to us for our perfecting.
Don’t forget to share your own unique insight/interpretation from the verse under consideration. You could be helping a soul.

Thank you Lord for the beauty of your word, we give your word, first place, last place and everyother place in between. Thank you for remarkable progress as we look in the mirror of your word. We declare that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by your spirit that dwells in us.
Guide us in the ensuing self-examination that we may ultimately fit the bill of the Blessed man. Thank you Father.
Amen!

Peace, Love and Scripture thrills.

Lizzie