HOW I SPENT MY LAST VALENTINE.

Disclaimer: This is one of the many God when stories I read this month and since we’re still in the Love Month, I thought to share. I hope you do like it.

****

Well, I haven’t always been a Valentine’s freak but then, I guess that changes when you have a babe, yeah?


Anyway, since you asked, lemme gist you.


So I had to sleep early that night on the 13th seeing that I had already planned out a surprise for this lady here and I needed to wake up early just to make things happen. (let’s call her Moore.)


At 8 am the next morning, I was already awake and prepped. I called these folks who were going to carry out the surprise and I let them know how it was going to be. (Let’s call her Tiwa) Moore wouldn’t be expecting me cos initially, I told her I’d be out of the state occupied with some work stuff which I believed was able to convince her that I was at least being truthful. If I had said anything other than that, she would have been able to detect the loopholes in my story.


Anyway, we approached her apartment (myself and those who were in charge of the surprise) and since Moore had always made it clear directly or indirectly that she didn’t want “paranran” I decided to let their saxophone guy sit this one out. As we got there, we were told by her housemate that she was still asleep. Well, I think that gives us well enough time to set up for what’s coming. “Don’t wake her up” I said as I instructed them on what to do and how to set the stuff up. It was only a matter of time before the living room was glitzed up -(balloons, gift wraps, cakes, and wine)- Now all she just has to do is wake up and be shocked.


Next up, it was time for her housemate to play her part. “Babe, wake up,” she said “I need you to come somewhere with me. I think something happened with my mum. My dad called and he was saying something about them on their way here but then he wasn’t sounding fine. Please, I really can’t explain right now. Just brush and let’s quickly head out.”



Moore looked up at her friend, speechless. The look of worry and panic was already transfixed on her face.


“Give me 5 minutes,” Moore said as she dashed into the washroom, washed her face, and brushed her mouth. She took her Bonnet from the shower line before she dashed back out.


“Oya, let’s go, Dora.”



“Just wait for me outside, I need to pick a couple of things and order an Uber. I’ll join you shortly and the ride will be here soon.” Dora said. Moore nodded in understanding and walked out of the room, trying to think of what might have happened, all the while hoping silently that nothing bad had occurred.




Poof! Tiwa opened the confetti, as sparkling glitters poured on Moore, disrupting her thought process.


“SURPRISE!!” Every other person in the room screamed as she realized what was going on.


In her state of shock and excitement, Moore didn’t know what to do or how to respond until I walked into the living room.



“You!! Are you not supposed to be traveling interstate?” She asked with a wide grin on her face.



“Well, I guess plans change. Happy Valentines’ my love. My life has been a lot more exciting and beautiful since I met you and all these are just a token to show how much I love you, Moore.” I say all these as she walks into my open arms and hugs me tightly, lifting her face slightly to catch my gaze and kiss me.




As she reclines after kissing, Dora comes out from the room, just in time for Moore to face her. “You, this is the stuff you said your Daddy called for, abi?”



“Nothing will happen to them in Jesus’ name. They’re fine. Nobody called me. Your boo needed someone to pull a stunt on you and I’m always available.” Dora said with a smirk on her face.


Tiwa played songs as Moore went through her gifts and presents, each one making her “aww” a little louder. I could see shimmering tears gathering in her eyes.


After she was done with that, she cut a piece of the cake and munched on it as she kept smiling from ear to ear whispering a thousand and one thank yous and I love yous.



“Go take your bath, I’m taking you out. We’re not done here.” I said as Tiwa and her crew prepared to take their leave after I had tipped them off.



In less than an hour, Moore was done and she came down in this stunning slitted red dress that hugged her body, wearing silver 4-inch high heels covered with a few diamond studs. Boy, was she beautiful?


“Oh dear, look at my Angel! See person pikin, see as e fresh.” I continued teasing her with lines like these and more as I walked her into the car and then just before I started driving, I asked her “The movies, an eatery, or a Karaoke. Which one should come first?”



“Movies,” she said as we both laughed and started deliberating on what movie to see when we get to the cinema. Since she calls the shot in movie decisions, we got a ticket to see “To All The Boys; Always And Forever.” Romantic movies always made her mushy, but lucky for me, I got to see her sweet part, receiving constant pecks from her and listening to the sound of her beautiful laughter when hilarious parts came on.



When the movie was done, we were walking out of the cinemas as she screamed “I’m famished!”



“Time to eat, milady,” I said as we got in the car and drove down to the nearest eatery close to the mall. We ordered the signature Nigerian Jollof Rice and grilled turkey with coleslaw and plantains on either side. I had water and she had an orange drink.



While eating, we’ll crack a little joke here and there, talk about one thing or the other, and at the same time laugh and make fun of people who we thought looked weird in the traditional red and white dressing.



Moore couldn’t finish her portion so I got the waiter to put it in a to-go pack and also give us another portion of rice to go. This time, Fried Rice instead of Jollof.



“Where to now?” She asked.



“You’ll see,” I said as I took her on a long drive, blasting music as we went. Both of us screamed the lyrics at the top of our voices even though we got it wrong most of the time.



After driving for a couple of minutes, we arrived at a lounge and bar where we just grooved to the music and had a few cocktails.



“Don’t get drunk,” I said as Moore kept mixing and matching. “I won’t carry you.” I threatened.



“Well, there won’t be a need to. You’ll drive” She said, laughing hysterically. “Just kidding though, I’ll be fine. I’ll stop when I start getting a little tipsy.”



“I’m sure you never had a Valentine’s as interesting as this when you were a single pringle,” Moore said after we had danced and shared the drinks we ordered.



“You know, if it wasn’t for you, I’d just sleep at home all day and maybe Netflix and chill. But then, I’m grateful for the gift of you.” I said.



Finally, it was Karaoke time!


“Want me to sing for you?” I asked



“Better don’t go and embarrass yourself. Cos I’ll just deny you.” Moore replied.



“Well, let’s see who gets embarrassed at the end of the day.” I concluded.



I stepped up and grabbed the mic, asked the DJ to give me a karaoke version of Perfect by Ed Sheeran. the lyrics played on the screen in front of me and I sang along while stealing glimpses at Moore. You could tell she was almost moved to tears already as she didn’t expect I was able to sing that well. When I was done, I dropped the mic, went to her and she hugged me tightly, not wanting to leave my arms as she resumed her whispers of “I love you. You’re so sweet. Thank you.”



I stroke her hair gently and I don’t say anything until she motions for us to leave. I sweep her off her feet and carry her out of the bar and into the vehicle. Laughing out loud, she said, “I thought you said you wouldn’t carry me.”



“Well, I changed my mind,” I said laughing too.



We drove back to her place and she went inside her room to get a change of clothes and take her bath while I waited to say goodbye.
When she was done, I walked her into the room as we talked for a while about how fun and exciting the day was.



“Alright, I’d like to take my leave now. I’ll call you once I’m home.”



“No,” she said, “Don’t go. Come cuddle me.”



It’s not like I have a choice, yeah? I got on the bed and wrapped my arms around her as she lay on me. I gently stroked her hair and rubbed her back calmly as she mouthed “Thanks for today, Babe. I love you wholeheartedly.”



“I love you too, Moore.”



She fell asleep while I sang lullabies to her.



Guess my Valentine’s Day wasn’t bad, was it? The best I’ve had in a while.



I hope next year is even more exciting than this and I hope to spend it with Moore.



The next and even the one after that.



© Hunyinbo ThankGod.



Sidenote: Been a while, folks!🥺 Every time I keep thinking of a better way to be consistent on here, but, agenda no dey ever agend.

I know I’m quite late, but I hope you had a good Valentine’s day. Whether with your girls, with your gadgets, or your man.

P.S: If you’re single and like me, can’t relate to the above story, I leave you with this quote;

“You’re just single, it’s not a crime.”

~Johnny Drille. (Philosopher and Scholar)
2022.

2021 In Retrospection.

No one can love me as you do
So why would I want to substitute?

For you, the beginning of the year always stands out as the most reflective time of the year. The time to correct wrongs, to write out a list of would-soon-forget resolutions, the time to evaluate and resolve. To map out plans and draw out goals. These seem interestingly productive until it fizzles out. The energy, the determination, the consistency. Nowhere to be found.

Rewind to the beginning of this year; amidst the merriment and jubilation, surrounded by the loud laughter of people we hold dear and probably overwhelmed by the gigantic pile of dirty dishes, everybody had a goal in mind. Something to be better at. Something or someone to give up. Something or someone to pick up (metaphorically though)

You had just one; somewhere to go.

*******

You know you’re an official staylite in the University called home when your neighbors begin to inquire about your plans. With the clipped tone that asks the question *You never gain admission abi your school resume?*, you never can differentiate if it’s coming from a place of concern or stale poke nosing. You wonder if they could see the insecurity spread out on your face as you tip your chin a bit, in an attempt to smile, and say “I’m still processing it.” The prayers they render come next and you’re left wondering if it’ll work this time, or you would have to face another year home.

Sometimes, you don’t know what wears you out the most; the constant questioning or the regular phone calls from potential connections asking to send your credentials; giving your heart another reason to hope.

*****

For years, since you could understand the “What do you want to become in the future?” question, there was only one answer. A lawyer. You didn’t have other options or perhaps, you didn’t like other options. So when it looked like this plan wouldn’t work out; after several months and days of praying, after several days of losing sleep, when it was time to let go, the tears didn’t flow. This was how you knew you didn’t know how to grieve.
When the “So what will you do with your English degree now?” question arose, doubt arose alongside. The next step seemed so blurry, it hurts you to think about it. Amidst all these, there was an unspoken resolution. A belief that is sometimes strong, sometimes wavery.

It is well.

*****

When people chattered about injection pains, you could only laugh because you couldn’t relate. Because for 18 years of your life, your ailments were nothing tablets couldn’t handle. So it seemed like a broken promise when at 1 AM that Friday morning, you were driven down to the hospital. Hadn’t God promised you perfect peace? Were you not named after the promise? Was God no longer good? You would realize then, that doubt accumulates and increases, waiting for that one perfect moment to pour out frustration. But He (your father, Abba) would hold your hands, still. You would feel His breath covering you. Reminding you that even if it had been worse than that; if the pain had been more grievous, He would, will still be good.

And it would, will still be well.

****

One of your earnest prayers this year was to find joy in seemingly inconsequential things. As if you’ve foreseen that, joy would sometimes be like a needle in a haystack; it would become so hard to find. So on days when you cried and didn’t know the reason why, God provided a dose. A word. A line of poetry. A post off Twitter. A funny meme. People disguised as angels calling off the blues. A song. His words.

There was a dose for every weariness.

****

It would be a Sunday when you begin to second-guess your whole decisions, the should-have, and should-have-not. A Sunday that seems so much like those days when it becomes hard to lift the covers off your head and face life. One of the days when you, for a moment, feel the air becoming too heavy for you to breathe. It would be that day you’ll sing in the choir and sing to *Many Things About Tomorrow.*

Again, you’ll be reminded of God’s plan. Again, you’ll know that it really is well.

****

God’s love is eternal. That is what you believe. That is what you know. You sing it in songs. You hear it in sermons. Your daily confessions are based on it. You rejoice because of it. Until the simple act of communing with your Father becomes hard to do. Until it literally means nothing to you when you go weeks without seeking Him. Until the could-never-be-me starts looking like you. Until you fall, times without number. Until you begin to doubt if He loves you because or despite. And again, He shows up. Assuring you that no matter how far you go, He’s right there; eyes hovering on you every second of the day. His hands reach out, waiting for you to grab hold.

“Come, child” He always says.

“70 × 7”

*****


Isaiah 61:1

It was the morning of the second day of the new year. Sprawled out on the floor in the corner of the living room, there was just a silent plea on your lips. You don’t know if this is what prayer looks like; uncontrollable tears and wordless mumblings.

“This year should be better, God. I want this year to be better.” You kept saying over and over. Is it a sin to demand something from God?

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

This verse dropped into your heart and for a second, you wonder if your mind was playing games with you or that was God speaking. So you picked up your Bible, opened the verse, and cried even more while reading.

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.
Isa 60:2 NKJV

You cried because like the Father that He is, He spoke. Nothing was more sure. Nothing was more certain. God was with you. Even when it seemed like sunshine had disappeared from the day and night lingers long, God was, and is still with you.

The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isa 60:3 NKJV

If God is for you, no one stands a chance to be against you. If God is in you, everyone sees your light. And when He says Rise, you do exactly that!

This year, you cried but you rose.
This year, you fell but you still rose.
This year, the devil tried hard, but you rose.

‘Cause, when He promises, His zeal will perform and not one of His word falls to the ground.

365 days behind, it was well.

******

Dear God,

I can promise you this ’cause now I know for sure, this girl ain’t going anywhere ❤️

Lost Places.

I love the graveyard so much. There’s something so serene about it that is so much distinct to the deafening noises in my life. Talk about the neighbor’s generator, the daily traffic, the squeak and squeal of unsupervised toddlers, my ever-loudening heart. You don’t find these in the graveyard. Here, it’s just bones and my grief. And if there ever should be an anatomical description for grief, you would find it as dry, strong, and dirty as these bones that lie underneath.

The first time I ever entered this solemn garden filled with wilting flowers and weeds growing on people’s tomb, my eyes were covered in tears, I could hardly see the preacher man by my side, spewing some jargon about dust going back to dust.

The next time I visited was the day I wanted to sign the membership form to become one of the tomb owners. I already had a small table and a rope hanging on the ceiling fan back at home. I only came to pay my last respect to my family. That was the day I discovered the tranquility of the graveyard. The day it offered something I’ve been searching for, a long time.

And if I hadn’t given up on life before then, maybe I could have found the answers to the many questions raging in my head. Maybe I could have found enough motivation to keep going. Maybe I could have still seen light at the end of the tunnel. But I had been to the end and the tunnel remained dark.

Today I am back here once again, not thinking of what could have been or what not. I’m not putting on a fake smile trying to show the world I’m still living when I’m only existing. In this graveyard, I remember Mama, and I can almost breathe again.

Right in the middle of the cemetery, there’s a wooden bench with a built-in shade that always makes me wonder if it was made for the ghost of the dead. I wonder if they pop up at night, sit on this bench and talk about how happy or sad they are in the afterlife.

Another reason why I love the graveyard, I always wonder. On Earth, surrounded by people and arts and beautiful creatures, I wander but here I find the wonder.

Settling on the bench, I bring out a small paper from my handbag and the stuff I bought from the Underground boys earlier and started rolling.

“Don’t you think you’re inconveniencing these guys?”

My heart jumped right into my mouth. I could no longer feel my legs and entire limbs. Are ghosts real? Do they kill people? I have just heard one voice speak behind me. Will I even make it out of this place alive?

“Smokers are liable to die young, they always advise. I think you shouldn’t kill these people twice.”

“Who are you?” I shouted. Nerves stretching my voice making it sound less brave.

“I’m just a friend. Chill.” The voice behind me said.

“I said who are you? You find no friend in places like this.”

“That’s true. I didn’t expect to find you here.”

I could hear this man approaching me, his footsteps rustling against the dry leaves on the ground.

“Go away from me, you ghost!” I screamed.

“Oh. Hi, I think you’re mistaking me for another visitor. I’m Nuel.”

This stranger standing right in front of me doesn’t look like a ghost, or at least, he didn’t dress like it. His red color hoodie with the bold white inscription “3:16”, was not the regular regalia for ghosts. I also doubt that ghosts who do exist have enough time to style their hair into coily waves as this alien.

“What are you doing here?” I finally find my voice.

“Visiting. I’m not a stranger to this place at all.”

“Same.”

“Oh yeah, I noticed.”

“You did? How?” Every part of my body screamed at me to run away from this man but it’s been a while since someone piqued my curiosity.

“I know who goes in and comes out.” Nuel made himself comfortable by sitting next to me. Not before pushing my rolled stuff and dropping them underneath the bench.

“Are you the gatekeeper? I’ve never met him now that I think of it.”

“I’m his son. And now that you’re my friend, I can always introduce you to him”  He grinned and looked at me.

“I’m not your friend.”

“Oh yes, you are. It’s not often that you find someone who loves the same weird thing as you.”

“We just have similar preferences.”

My hands reach into the mini handbag I brought to take my cellphone, something to distract me, when Nuel interupted the few minutes of silence we just had.

“Tell me, what brings you to this place?” Nuel asked.

“Why don’t you go first, Mr gatekeeper’s son?”

He laughed and I could feel my skin prickling. “I have come to see some of my friends who temporarily rest here.”

I scan through the garden and try to mentally count the number of gravestones built here.

“There are 35 people in here but I’m only friends with 17 of them if you’re wondering.”

“You’ve lost 17 friends?!” I exclaimed. “I have to be extra careful around you.”

He laughed again and pointed to the gravestone at the end of the yard.

“That’s a 10-year-old. I used to call him a warrior. Battled leukemia for 6 months and the day before his corpse was brought here, his last request was to see Nuel. Now, do you abandon that kind of friend?”

“I guess you don’t.”

“Right beside him is a forty-two-year-old woman. She had twins and every day for so many years of her life, she would always call me. Always reach out to me. We had one easy and blissful relationship.” Nuel stared right at my mother’s grave. Heat flooded my face and turned it ashy like someone who had just seen a ghost.

“You knew my Mom?!” I blurted out.

“Mrs. Coker Deborah. Had a very kind heart. Loved everyone. Went on early morning daily walks around the block. She’s not one to easily forget.”

“That’s my Mom. My mother!” Hot tears prickled at my eyes. Nuel’s eyes shifted to the second tomb besides Mom.

“I knew him too. Your twin brother. Coker Joe.”

My heart sank. Since Mom and my twin brother died after the fatal accident that happened two years ago, everyone around me walked on eggshells. Nobody ever mentioned his name. Hearing Nuel call him now made my heart warm in a special kind of way.

“How did you know them?” I asked, my throat getting dried.

“I know whoever my Father knows.”

“Make it make sense, please. I don’t understand how you know everyone. Especially everyone in a graveyard. That’s another level of strange! I never heard my Mom talk about you once, yet you speak as if you were the one best friend she had from childhood.”

Who is the man and why does he make my heartbeat this fast?

“You know why I think we both have some weird preferences? We both love lost places. I have a strong desire to find anything that is lost. It doesn’t matter how much I have to give up. I always find the one who is missing. You came to a lost place looking for answers, years ago, I came to a lost place bringing the answer.”

Nuel spoke with so much calmness in his voice that for the first time, I wasn’t tired of conversing. For the first time in a long while, I actually have the urge to talk to someone.

“Why… why did it have to be Mom? Why was it the two people I loved so much that had to die? Why… didn’t… I die too? I blamed myself so much for being a survivor that I let the pain wear me out until I stopped living. You know after they died, I think time stopped. I had no idea when days turned into nights and nights turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. People always spoke about moving on, about being able to relate to my grief but to be honest, I couldn’t hear them. Their death was my end to living.”

Nuel glanced at me, a glimmer of tears gathering in his eyes. “Death is not the end.”

“It is,” I said, almost defiantly. “It definitely is the end.”

Nuel turned from his chair and looked at me intently, his gaze so warm I can feel my heart spiking up again than normal.

“What do you think is the end, ‘Sephine?”

Wait? What!? I did not remember telling this human enigma my name. Well, maybe Mom happened to let it slip while she spoke with him. Just maybe.

I shrugged. “Void. Darkness. Skeletons that once had blood flowing through their veins. Waters. I think.”

“Void, darkness, water? That’s the beginning ‘Sephine. The beginning can never happen as the end in any story, not even in fairy tales. For us who will choose to live in reality, there’s an end but it’s not death.”

“You sound like you understand what you’re saying, Nuel. Where did you get your knowledge from?”

“To him who has been given_”

“Oh no! You definitely studied Philosophy. How couldn’t I tell so well from all your mumblings about the beginning and the way you sound like those I-too-know?”

“I didn’t study Philosophy. Never went through the four walls of a school, even. Let’s just say I get my wisdom from my Father.”

“He homeschools you?”

“Something like that.”

“My Mom had always loved the idea of homeschooling but when you have two kids who don’t see eye to eye, you have to reconsider. That’s what she did.”

I smiled remembering some of the mischief my brother and I pulled up when we were much younger. I also realize that for the first time since his death, I didn’t feel any sharp pain piercing through my heart like I usually do whenever I remember him.

“Why do you smoke?” Nuel asked. He put his left hand under the bench and brought out the roll he threw underneath earlier.

“I didn’t until they died. It helped me cope.”

Nodding, he kept twisting it around his fingers until he unrolled it and watched as the breeze blew the stash in the paper away.

“I don’t like coping mechanisms that bring no satisfaction.” He said.

I only watched him with eyes full of amazement rather than anger.

“How else do you cope?”

“Lost places. As you said, I love lost places. It makes me wonder.”

“Once I had to live with people who were just like you. People who tried to find answers to questions that unnerved them. I had a man who had to come tmeet me like a thief in the night. He was wealthy, had riches in abundance, had the fame and the affluence that at the snap of his fingers, the whole town will bow. Yet he needed to know how a man can be reborn. Such foolish question for a man of his class, you would say.”

“Well, that was not a reasonable question at all.”

“I also knew a sister. Had another caring sister and a loving brother, lived a cheerful life doing what she knows to be best. Sometimes she would wipe the feet of those she cherished with her hair, other times she would rather have a confrontation with her sister than miss the next word I said. Until the day her brother died and she understood grief firsthand”

“I can relate. It saps away all your joviality.”

“It did. She found comfort amid the mourners. She thought the tears of others would somehow console her but when she saw grace, she held unto him until she also saw a miracle.”

“Nuel, I love your stories. You tell them pretty well but at this point, I don’t understand anymore.”

“Another time I met a woman, a divorcee to 5 men, living with another one she wasn’t to.”

“5 men?” I exclaimed, trying to hide the giggle in my voice. “Well, what can i say? Men are scum.”

“You could tell she thought her satisfaction was from the comfort of these men. Until grace approached her and she drank him in. And you know the good thing Grace does?”

“What’s that?”

“It can’t keep a closed mouth when it happens. Grace extends to others.”

“What are you saying, Nuel?”

“That’s what you need, ‘Sephine. There’s really no comfort out here in the cemetery but your lost place was only meant to direct you to grace. That’s where you find satisfaction and wonder.”

Letting a sigh escape my mouth, I turn to him “You talk like it’s easy to find satisfaction.”

“It’s just as easy as how you found me.”

“Durh” I rolled my eyes at him. “Jokes on you, you’re the one who found me, remember?”

“Yeah I did, but I only met you halfway. I didn’t pull your legs up to this location, I already met you waiting.”

“Waiting for who? Or for what?”

“Waiting for Grace! Deep down your heart, you know you can’t continue like this. You’re tired of doing drugs. You’re tired of slipping in and out of depression and to be honest you’re even tired of this sorrowful graveyard! Do you think more sorrow would help you? That’s a lie Sephine. Only grace can. Only grace can save you.”

My eyes burned with tears. My mind raced through the times I’ve spent wallowing in the deep pit of depression. I know. I know i need an escape. I know codeine doesn’t help me much again. But what escape can help a broken soul?

“WHO ARE YOU, NUEL? Why have you decided to punish me more??” I asked between muffled sobs.

“I’m Grace. Grace Given. That’s who I am. I’m Grace personified. I am the very escape you need. The one that doesn’t come with lifelong trauma. Give me these distress. Give me the pain. I know what to do with it better than you. I will walk you through the process of healing. I am the one who saves ‘Sephine.”

I could no longer control the tears pouring and shaking my entire body.

“I will be with you all through. Hold these hands.”

He stretched out his palms to me.

“Hold them. Feel them. I can fill your heart with love enough to start afresh. Help has come, Josephine. You think you’re too broken? Too stained for redemption? Too far for grace? Newsflash: Grace is too unbothered by your worries. It just wants to fill your heart. Hold these hands and let your eyes behold whose hands you have held. Take them.”

My palms met his. His eyes met mine. His smile was so wide.

“I am tired.” I whispered. “I need Grace.”

Holding unto his hands with all the strength in me, I felt the scar. The nail-pierced hole.

Like the Samaritan women at the well, like Mary the sister of Lazarus, like Nicodemus, the Pharisee, I have just met Jesus in a lost place.

The Growth Process: Generation Z.

Hello family. It’s Dee again. I missed you all so much! I took a not-really-deserved break but I think I’m back on board now! I hope you all are good and that 2021 has been wonderful so far? I’m rooting for you whichever way.

A week ago, Twitter was on fire with banters from Millennials and generation Z. While Millennials think the latter is rather immature and over-privileged, Generation Z thinks they’re too uncool and might have walked in the footsteps of older generations. Just so you know, I’m here offering moral support to Gen Zs😘

Millennials are those born in the mid-80s to the mid-1990s while Generation Z are born between 1997 to 2012 (23-9)

To be completely honest with ourselves, we all can’t grow without personal development. And as much as we need all-round growth in every area of our lives, there are vital areas we should really prioritize. Today, I’ll be sharing 4 important areas we need to grow as Generation Z (you’re welcome 🤗)

1) Physical Growth.

This is the development of body composition, stronger bones, and muscles.

Practical Tips on How to Enhance Physical Growth.

  • Eat Healthy Foods: The same food that does magic and nourishes the body can harm you when taken without careful consideration. Stay away from junk if you want to have a healthy lifestyle. Take in more vegetables and fruits. You could be creative with this and do a fruit salad. Instead of carbonated drinks, try blending fruits to make juice or make smoothies.
  • Exercise Daily: You don’t need to own a gym membership card before you can exercise. Jog around your neighborhood. There are several stay-home exercises on the internet. I’ll recommend you check out Chloe Ting on YouTube. Brace yourself up though for a memorable experience. But if like me, (*hides face in shame*) you can’t handle Aunty Chloe, then you could get a skipping rope and challenge yourself daily. It’s important to know that you don’t necessarily exercise to shred weight but to keep fit.
  • Staying Up Late is NOT the New Cool: I know this could have been arguable if it was in the era of midnight calls and extra cools (Sorry, Nigerian millennials) We’re Gen Zs and we have WhatsApp calls and FaceTime. Lol. Healthy sleep duration is for seven to eight hours a night. Not the next morning. That’s why God created the night, you know. Sleeping early legit makes your day better by far and if not for any health reason, do it to wake up less grumpy in the morning.
  • Laugh More: According to research, laughter is the best medicine for human health. Imagine having to do away with Paracetamol or even worse, Coartem, because you laugh so much. What a blessing!
  • Be Positive: Have a positive attitude. Smile always. Do good to yourself and everyone around. Only entertain positive thoughts. You’re not a failure. You’re a blessing. A success. A trailblazer.  Reserve your energy for better things than quarrels or keeping malice with another person. This will drain you. Finally, my brethren, resist the urge to use the F-word on haters, or rather, 8ters.

2) Emotional Growth.

This refers to understanding what our feelings and emotions are and how to manage them effectively. I hear some people say Gen Zs are most likely to turn out spoilt (when we’re not fried rice😒) I think it’s wrong. Maturity in this area depends on how intelligent you are emotional.

Practical Tips on How to Enhance Emotional Growth.

  • Accept Responsibility: It’s not a weakness to be responsible. Know when to say sorry and to apologize when you’re wrong. Ignoring or avoiding responsibility only shows how immature you are.
  • Own Your Mistakes: Hard! I know how you feel. Nobody likes to be criticized, scolded, or punished. But that’s exactly what you might get when you own up to your mistakes. The good news is that it allows you never to make the same mistake again.
  • Setting Healthy Boundaries: This has to deal with the people you relate with. Set standards for people even your friends. Don’t just keep going with the crowd, but intentionally choose who you call friends and set boundaries. If you’re not comfortable with the way they tease you, the jokes they make, the things they do towards you, let them know! If some people’s toxicity is too much for you to handle, let them go!
  • Manage Your Negative Emotions: I know how passionate you are, that whenever you’re angry, your words could burn down an entire village. I know what happens when you’re overwhelmed, you try to shut every person out of your life. It’s best to know how you react in certain situations and work on them if they are not good enough. Try talking to a close friend or even a sibling when you’re overwhelmed. When you’re angry, try breathing practices (Old but golden!) Examine what you want to say in your mind and have a meaningful conversation with the person that offended you.

3) Academic Growth.

This involves the improvement of things related to learning and studying in a school or college environment.

School na scam, school na scam, but everybody wants to have a profession, and undergraduates want a magna cum laude result. (Graduating with honors)

Practical Tips on How to Enhance Academic Growth.

  • Set a schedule for study time. Let this schedule include the subjects or topics you would like to go through, set a preferable time for each subject. Go through questions from previous exams to test yourself.
  • Recognize your weakness in subjects or topics and effectively work on them. You could ask for help from senior colleagues or classmates who are good in those areas.
  • Do not be an island of knowledge. Get friends that have the same goals as you, which I think should be to succeed. Start a study group with them. Together, you all can achieve more and be better.
  • Discipline is the Key: It’s one thing to say “I’ll do it.” It’s another thing to actually do it. Be disciplined enough to let go of procrastination and laziness and actively focus on your studies.

4) Spiritual Growth.

Of course, I saved the best and the most important for the last. This is the advancement of the relationship between God and Man. The best kind of relationship everyone must have, I tell you.

Practical Tips on How to Enhance Spiritual Growth.

  • Pray Daily: Prayer is communion. It’s worship. It’s loving God. It’s for self-edification and it promotes spiritual growth. Prayer should be done intentionally. Leave it to your feelings to make time for you to pray and you’ll find yourself not praying for weeks. Find a STABLE place and choose a FIXED time when you want to pray. Then you remain consistent and show up daily!
  • Study The Word: Studying the word is as important as prayer is. The word is what sharpens our life, gives us direction and clarity, and guides us on the journey of life. Make out time to study God’s word. Not just reading it but meditating on it and applying it to your life. That’s where your all-round growth lies.
  • Listen to Sermons: You know what’s better than having a great leader and preacher of the Word? Two or more great preachers!! I’ll recommend Pastor Mike Todd. Pastor Emmanuel Iren and Apostle Joshua Selman. Their sermons are available on YouTube.
  • Read books by Christian authors. You don’t where to start from? Try Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, then come say thank you later. Read works of Karen Kingsbury, Opeyemi Akintunde, and other beautiful Christian writers. You can follow my blog too for edifying stories and articles☺
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down how faithful God has been to you, write down testimonies of what He has done for you. It’s your track record of God keeping His word.

Growth is a process, as we all know. A journey. Sometimes smooth. Sometimes like a rusty vehicle on a bumpy road. Still, we strive and work hard to become better versions of ourselves.

I’ll be rooting for you, as always.

I love you all❤

He Who First Loved Us.

Running had been Tola’s favorite sport in elementary school. Several awards and medals of various colors of the tournaments she won were littered around in her parent’s study back in their family house in Lagos. But lately, Tola was done running. It seems to her that the older she grew, the bigger the things she ran from. She wasn’t just in a track meet, waiting for the referee’s whistle to blow. Now she was in life’s pitch and her knees are too wobbly to move.

“Dedun, I think I have a problem,” Tola said to her roommate, who had been reading from the Kindle app on her Tablet.

“What sort of problem?” Dedun, said nonchalantly, without looking up from the phone in her hands.

“I don’t know too. I feel like I have a problem in virtually every aspect of my life.”

“Ahah. But you do so well academically and you have a comfortable family who loves you.” Dedun sat upright now, paying attention.

“That is it! That love is my problem. I don’t seem to know how to show love and look, as much as I’m popular and smart and all, I don’t feel loved sometimes. Most days.”

“Wow. That’s new. But you have family and friends who genuinely loves you.”

“I do. I know I do but sometimes I think I’ve worked so hard to earn their love and so I have to keep working harder.” Tola sighed. “And the things I have to do makes me feel so empty!”

“Empty?” Dedun asked, skeptically. “Tola what is the source of this discussion?”

“Trust is, just last week I was in a group of people that I would formerly tag ‘the lowliest.’ There was nothing spectacular about them yet they exuded this kind of grace and joy, Dedun, you could actually see the spark in their eyes as they talked about Jesus. I wanted what they had but I didn’t feel worthy of it at all.”

This was happening! Dedun thought. Her friend and college roommate of two years was finally talking about Jesus! Don’t miracles still happen?

“Wow. Where did you meet this group of people?” Dedun asked.

“At the restaurant. Of all places! They came to eat and I sat opposite them watching them intently. They talked as if Jesus was right there in their midst, grinning at them. The love they had for this man was so evident that you would think He’s real.”

Dedun had been praying for the moment this conversation would happen and here is her chance to finally talk to her friend.

“Well, He is. Jesus is most definitely real.”

“Lmaoo. I know you are one of that i-go-to-church-regularly kind of girl but you and I both know you don’t meet Jesus seating on the front pew of your Sunday services. You won’t find him reading the Bible on the alter or doing those other things you do in the church.” Tola said.

“But we do feel Him! Of course, he won’t be there physically on Sunday services but He’s still so real, so close than the very air we even breathe.”

“I don’t know man. I just want to have a spark of what I saw in those guys.”

“I’m pretty sure you can. And yes, it still balls down to Jesus.”

“Dedun, I hope you know I’m a Christian too. I go to church back home and I’m sorry to break it to you but it’s just so incomparable with what I saw back there. Jesus isn’t just someone you bring up anywhere and wherever. We were taught that he lives in the sky, a place called heaven, that only goody two shoes who have ticked the boxes of every dos and donts he gave them are allowed into. And people like me, who find it hard to go a day without telling a lie, belong to the dungeon below, the one blazing with fire. I mean, how do you expect me to feel the existence of such a cruel personality?”

By this time, Dedun was almost choking from so much laughter. Tola got more infuriated and playfully kicked Dedun’s feet.

“Stop it. I don’t see what’s hilarious in this!” Tola said.

“First of all, who taught you these gibbers!?” She was curled up on the floor, laughing hysterically.

“Please leave me alone joor.”

“Okay, seriously speaking though, do I look like a goody-two-shoe?”

“Sometimes you try to be one. But you’re just generally sweet except during times like these when you laugh during serious moments.”

Dedun laughed again.

“I’m no goody-two-shoes and yet I’m very sure of the fact that Heaven is my final destination after this life.”

“How are you so sure about it?” Tola asked, confusion spreading through her face.

“Because God loves me!”

“That’s my point! You’re a sweetheart, everybody loves you. And look who the stable rebel is. Yours Truly. It’s hard to love a renegade.”

“Not my God though. At least, if you don’t remember anything else from Sunday school, you’ll remember the story of Jesus’ birth. How royalty was born in a manger, how he was made to become man, someone who has spoken and dined with Angels. How he had to suffer through the crucifixion and so many other trails on Earth. Why did you think he went through all those troubles?”

“I don’t know. For history to be made?”

Dedun’s face spread into a wide grin. Her friend could see she was fighting hard not to laugh.

“History was actually made but he did all that because of the love he has for humanity. Could you please help me recite John 3:16?”

Now Tola was the one laughing. “Bold of you to assume I know it. I haven’t opened my only bible in years”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him..” Dedun recited.

“..will not perish but have everlasting life!” Tola finished the words, fists pumping in the air. “I know it! There’s still hope for me.” She shrieked while her friend joined her in laughing. One would think they were drunk with wine.

“That is it! The basis and foundation of all humanity has to enjoy. Love. The one that comes from God. The one he showed by giving up his only son. To actually die for our sins. And in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Dedun stood up to get water and continued after she was done gulping the water.

“He didn’t die because he was sure we would all repent. He didn’t die because we did something memorable for him while he was still alive but he died that we would have life and have it in abundance. His death has ruled out our death.”

“I’m no longer understanding oh, babe.” There was a hint of disbelief on Tola’s face.

“See, ever since Adam and Eve sinned back then, man literally signed a covenant with death. Separation became a thing. But God had a plan of redemption and that’s the laying down of Jesus’ life. So yeah, Jesus died to eradicate the covenant of death and give life instead.”

“Wow. So that means I don’t get to die anymore and actually stop worrying about death every minute?”

“Yes oh. Men who have accepted Jesus don’t die! We only sleep after we stop existing on Earth. Our mainland is Heaven.”

“But Dedun, you know I don’t have the best records. I mean, I suck at this Christianity thing.” Tola said, feeling a bit exasperated.

“Have you even heard anything I said at all? God loves you despite all you’ve done. He died for you while you still a sinner. God loves us so much to have laid down a plan that included us long before we came to Earth. After we accept Him, he totally cancels our sin! Every single one of them. And now, there’s no condemnation to them who believe. All those shame and guilt that stays heavy like a backpack on your shoulders, you don’t need them anymore. Christ has forgotten about your sins the moment you accept Him.”

“Oh my God! Nobody really explained this to me.” Tola gasped.

“And I know, being a believer isn’t a walk in the park, but look who empowers us?”

“God does?”

“Yes oh. He doesn’t start a work that He won’t finish. That’s why he gave us the Holy Spirit the moment we believe and accept Him. It is now the work of the Spirit to teach us and guide us into all truth!”

“Omooo!! See wisdom. Gosh, I’m beginning to see why you guys love Him so much. See Dedun, I want to experience all these too.”

“We love Him because He has first loved us. And if you’re ready to accept Him into your heart, it’s so easy. Just say these prayers.”

“Guy, I’m soo ready!”

“Dear Lord, I come to you today with my sins, I admit that I have fallen short of your glory, Lord. I believed you lived on Earth, you died for me, rose again and you’re still living. Thank you for making me a new creature. Father, transform me, renew me, and change me with the help of your Holy Spirit. Amen.”

After reciting the prayers, Tola looked up to her friend and muttered a quiet “that’s all?”

“Yes, that’s all. Welcome to the family of Abba’s children, Tola. I’m super happy for you.”

“Me too!” She said, shrieking.

“Now please can you make us dinner? I want fried plantain”

“Anything for you, Milady.” Tola said bouncing into the kitchen.

**********

If anything is most real in my life, it is God’s love for me. If anything is more magnificent, more amazing, it is how God’s love has changed and transformed my life.

2021 is a blessed and glorious year. (I’m sure of it!) Now imagine spending a year with God’s love radiating all over you! What manner of bliss!

Start this year with God’s love. Believe and accept Him into your heart today and watch how he’ll transform you from the inside out.

And if you think that you have drifted apart from God, felt unmotivated to keep your relationship with God going, He will never turn His back against you. You are forever loved by God.

God is love and even when we were still sinners, so steeped in sin and shame and guilt, His son, Christ, died for us, guaranteeing us a life that never ends.

Happy New Year, Fam❤️❤️❤️

P.S: If you would like to accept this offer of everlasting love, please do say the prayers above or reach out to me via email. adeolapeace72@gmail.com

I love you💞💞

HOW LONG?

It was midday in Akure. The city bustled with commercial traders going about their businesses. Vehicles moving to various destinations. School children marching down the roadway in already rough uniforms.

Nobody noticed the black Sedan Jeep following Barrister Paul. Nobody saw the Jeep take the same turn that the Barrister took to get to his house. No one even noticed the driver of the Jeep when he slowly crept out of the car and stealthily entered into the Barrister’s compound, following him.

The house was empty so nobody heard the grunts coming from the Barrister who was struggling with his enemy. Of course, he knew who he was. The driver of the Sedan Jeep is an officer of the law who is being arraigned in court for unjust practices. Barrister Paul had refused to accept the bribe offered and stood defiantly on his case. He already feared something bad might happen to him. What he didn’t know was that it would be a bullet in his head.

His wife would return from the office with his kids to find daddy sprawled on the floor, blood gushing everywhere, splatters of his brain out.

**********

She was 15. He was 17. He was her mother’s sister only child. She wanted to get something down the road that evening so he escorted her. Close to the shop where the goods she wanted to get were sold, they got stopped by these men in uniforms.

“Where una dey go?” They barked, pointing their bright torchlight to their faces. It wasn’t even that dark for them not to see.

“We just want to get something, sir,” they said, scared to death.

” Which thing? At this ungodly hour of the day? Abi you dey do ashewo work. And this small boy, see the hairstyle on his head. You must be doing illegal stuff”

“No sir. We’re still students in school sir. Nobody is doing any illegal stuff” The two of them pleaded with their voices trembling.

All their explanations fell on deaf ears. None of their appeals were heard. They weren’t even granted access to call their parents.

Soon, these men were bundling the 17 years old fresh out of high school boy, into their vehicle taking him to their station while the girl was taken to a nearby bush to be sexually assaulted, punished for her sins of walking freely.

**********

‘Help me oh!!! The cries were coming from a woman, running bare-chested on the street. Tears falling down her cheeks. Hands gripping and pulling out her neatly braided hair.

Was she mad? The neighborhood thought.

“Help me oh. They have taken my son. They have carried him away.”

The people-watching tried to calm her down. But she wasn’t having it. Instead, she spread out on the muddy pathway. Rolling from end to end.

“Ify my child would never hurt a fly” She cried out to nobody in particular.

“He cannot even properly kill a chicken. But they say he’s a criminal because of the big phone in his hands” Onlookers stopped, listening to the wails of a sad mother.

“They said he’s a fraudster only because of the way he dressed. Nobody saw any weapon with him! They didn’t even find a gun with him! Yet, they beat him up and take him to their prison.”

“I’ve searched around all the police stations in this city, but he’s nowhere to be found. They have killed my son ohhh. They have killed him for me” She kept wailing.

4 years and a few months later, this woman kept groaning, except it was only in the corners of her house and there was still no trace of her son, Ifeanyi.

********

Mary had always heard gory stories of what it feels like to be in prison. She had never met an ex-convict, so these stories were from people whose imaginative prowess wields emotions. That night, she sat on the floor of a cold and dark room filled with the stench of urine. Several odors wafted through her nose, she could almost throw up. Have these people seating close to her even had a shower?

“Hey you, wetin you do?”(what did you do) A thick, almost masculine voice shouted at the extreme of the room.

“What is your offense?” How can a woman’s voice be this thick? Mary thought.

She drew in a long breath and said “I went for a protest”

“A protest? You fight?” The woman asked again. Seemed to Mary like she was the gang leader of her cell.

“No ma’am. I didn’t”

“You kill?”

“I did not and will never kill anyone”

“You break bottle for head?”

“Never ma’am”

“Okay na. In that case, welcome home.” The thick woman said, sounding like a tout.

What home is she referring to? She was only detained here. She knew she would get out of here in no time. Hell! She did nothing wrong.

Just then a finger poked her ribs and Mary turned to see a young, slim woman.

“I went for a protest like you too. For my school in the North. It’s been 2 years now and I’m still awaiting trial”

“Whatttt?? 2 freaking years!!?” Mary screamed.

“They said I instigated the protest that brought pandemonium when it was the Police who didn’t understand the meaning of a peaceful protest and started shooting when they got intimidated.” The woman continued.

“If you believe in anyone who isn’t human, if you believe in God, start praying now. Cause once you’re in their grip, the law can do little to save you” The woman turned away and rested her head on a slate.

Mary sighed. She searched for words but found none. She shut her eyes, trying to see if this was all a dream but opened them to find people staring back at her.

“Dear Lord, please” She finally mumbled.

These short stories might be fictional but it is very realistic.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created by the Nigerian government to guide the citizens of this country from armed robbers and to eradicate armed robbery in our environment. Over the years, these people have clearly shown to us who the real robbers are. They profile youths with nice cars, iPhones, and youths with designer clothing ( How low!)assaulting, harassing, and exploiting them.

This government squad has now been changed to Special Weapons And Tactics(SWAT)

Our people in Nigeria are being killed, punished, raped, assaulted by the ones meant to protect us. Many Nigerians have experienced several terrible encounters with these people than armed robbers.

On October 8, Nationwide protests began in full swing. Our youths are coming out and saying enough is enough.

But what do we get?

Shootings. Teargas by the police. Unlawful detainment of peaceful protesters. Harassment and so many unspeakable things.

Jimoh Isaiq died after he was shot by the police. His crime? He was watching people protest from a distance.

Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo died, hands in his pocket. Not to draw out a rifle. He was shot because he was only looking.

16-year-old Tina was standing by the road when a trigger-happy policeman’s bullet stray hit her. She didn’t survive.

This could be me tomorrow. This could be you. If we don’t speak up to end this menace in our country, I tell you, lives will be in serious danger.

The youths of this land are protesting, day and night. We’re raising up our lost-but-now-found voices. We’re on our kneels interceding for the peace of this country. People are providing funds and sourcing for things. I can never be more proud to be a Nigerian at this moment!!

To join this movement, please search for the following hashtags on Twitter #ENDSWATNOW #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY. Please lend your voice. If you can’t go out to protest, please tweet and retweet continuously.

Do not forget to pray, our victory comes from God.

Tell others, our parents, friends, relatives, share it with our foreign friends. Share this news on all social media platforms. If you have the sources, please send funds. This fight isn’t for the youths alone, it’s for everyone.

We are tired of accepting this tyranny.

We’re tired of watching with folded arms.

Now we speak up! Now we demand our rights!

This Win Is Ours.

#ENDSARSNOW. #ENDSWATNOW. #

Dear Future Husband.

It’s been over a year since I last wrote to you

Since I last wrote down manifestos, structures or project plans of what our love story would look like.

Built our foundations with borrowed plans from society and other picture-perfect couples

Mapped out our journey based on fantasies and deceptive ingenuity

And it’s been a year of learning

And following a lead.

Following the principles of the one who before we drew first breath, knew our beginning from the end.

Who wrote in a great book, innumerable promises that would remind us over and over again of how much He’s interested in our lives.

Who had me convinced that I didn’t need to write our story

But to submit my pen and watch how it unfolds.

Dear future husband,

I have not come with sweetened words or plethoras of promises that might be hard to keep.

Today, I have come with questions.

Have you come to fully understand what love means?

Not the love that wants to see beneath my outfit

Not the love that’s being defined by society or pop-culture

But the love that is from God. That is God Himself.

Have you come to fully understand that we can’t do life together, love as we ought to if we don’t give the Holy Spirit the key to our hearts?

If we don’t let the only begotten of the Father be the foundation

We’ll be like builders who sleep while watching the city.


Have you come to realize that we can’t fully love each other, thoroughly know each other if we still neglect the Father?

Or don’t even know what His voice sounds like

Do you think we can come together as broken people, wishing to fill the broken pieces of ourselves?

We’ll be a mess if we haven’t been made whole by the Father.

Have you any idea how vulnerable and open we’ll be with each other?

How we’ll learn to forgo our past and place our future right in God’s hands all the while doing the present being led by the Spirit?

How committed we’ll stay with each other?

Choosing each other daily till forever?

I want a love life devoid of selfishness, self-centeredness, putting flesh above the spirit, loving on our terms, jealousy, impatience and envy

And to want a stable relationship with you is to have a real relationship with God.

I know these things might not come easy to me, maybe to you too.

But you know what I’m most certain of?

With you in my life and with the Father’s Spirit as a guide

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I can love you wholeheartedly.

Give my heart, soul and body to you.

Be your biggest supporter

Your truth, your guidance and your friend

Through Christ who strengthens me.

And I really hope that this God strengthens you too

That you have come into a place of surrender and submission with Him and nothing in your life is done without Him

Even when it involves choosing me.

I really hope that you have gained freedom from whatever baggage you might have

And healed from whatever wound you might have.

So when we meet

Our Two becomes One.

Formed by God, Chosen by God, Called by God, and Joined by God.

And now this three remains

Faith that our life together is a huge representation of heaven right on Earth.

Hope that you’re somewhere pursuing righteousness, faith and peace(might be me)

Love that we both have for God and for ourselves even before we meet

And the greatest of this is Love ❤️

~Adeola Peace.

Whew! This is me being a hopeless romantic writing this not-so-poetic-words to somebody’s son in my rawest, spiritual form. I really hope someone out there reads this and learn a lesson or two from it.

Love is beautiful, wholesome and unique when God writes the story.❤❤

Two Awards In One!!🥳🥳

Hey Fam, welcome to yet another post on this blog. Make yourself comfortable if you’re new, and if you’re not, I love you very much for always coming back.♥️♥️


I got my first Blog Nomination award!! Not just one but two!!

I’m so happy I could share a plate of hot Jollof rice and chicken to everyone.


Now shall we;


THE SUNSHINE AWARDS.


Hearty cheers to Herry Chic Counsels for nominating me for this award. Please visit her blog for spiritfilled and inspirational Christian content. http://herrychiccounsels.com/


Rules


1)Thank the blogger who nominated you


2)Remember to list the rules and indicate your award nomination by including the logo.


3)Answer the questions that have been asked


4)Nominate 11 bloggers who inspire you


5)Make a new list of 11 questions for your nominees


Questions and Answers

1) What does sunshine mean to me?


The start of a new day. Light. Radiance.

2)What inspires you the most?


Precious Holy Spirit. A forever inspiration. And yes, my family. Not to sound cliche, but they’re my inspiration in human body.


3)Are there any kind of thought that pops in your mind frequently? If yes, what do you think is the reason behind it?

These days I find myself thinking about living life and fulfilling purpose, living life and making an impact even if it’s in just a soul frequently. I guess Chadwick Boseman’s death created a new passion in me. The passion to live and affect lives no matter how young.

4)What are your opinions about the phrase ‘Reflect on life’?

You see, most times, this thing we call life can be a lot more overwhelming than we prepared for. It doesn’t hurt if you take a break and just breathe while you allow yourself get acquainted to the changes we experience, the visions we have, the goals to be met at the same time resting.

5)Do you spend sometime with yourself? If yes, how?


Very much. I read, write, try to write songs. I know this might sound weird, but yeah, I talk to myself. It helps me get out of my head sometimes ☺️☺️

THE WHOSOEVER TAG.

The Whosoever Tag 


Special shoutout goes again to Herry Chic Counsel. Thank you so much for these nominations. Please, don’t forget to check out her blog.♥️

http://herrychiccounsels.com/


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ~ John 3:16


And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. ~ Mark 8:34


Here are the rules:


1)This tag is for any follower of Jesus who wants to do it. If you love Jesus and are a “Whosoever”, you are tagged.


2)Link the original post (The Whosoever Tag) and give credit to the creator of this tag (Purple Rose) https://reluctantpreachersdaughter.wordpress.com


3)Answer the 10 original questions asked by Purple Rose


4)Share the link to at least one Christian blog post or blogger you love (you may share as many blog posts or bloggers as you like).


5)Use the original tag image as the FEATURED image on your post:

Questions.

1)How old were you when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior?

I was 15 at that time.

2)How many times have you been baptized?
Once

3)What bible story or verse puzzles you the most?

The story of prophet Hosea and his adulterous wife.

4) What’s something you’d like to know about heaven?

Life in eternity. Is it going to be like our everyday life on Earth or just a life of everyday worship?

5) Who’s the first person you knew on Earth that you’ll look for or you hope will be waiting to greet you at the pearly gates?

My young family friend. Died at a very tender age. It still hurts when I remember.

6)Why do you think the streets of heaven are made of gold?

The Bible said so. And I think Gold is a treasure that’s associated with royalty and we all know who the King of Kings is; God.

7) What’s ONE burning question you can’t wait to ask Jesus?

Wow. This one is sketchy but I’ll actually like to ask why He takes the ones we love soon梁梁

8) Other than Jesus, what person from the Bible are you most interested to meet?

Mary. I’d like to ask her about Jesus’ childhood days. (and maybe quietly ask if He sometimes caused tantrums)

9) What are 3 things you won’t miss on Earth?

The uncertainty. The Instability. School 

10) What’s the best spiritual advice you’ve ever received?

Live your life day by day by grace depending on the Spirit and carrying Jesus on your head.

My nominations goes to whoever reads this post. Feel free to answer these same questions and post on your blog too.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Ciao♥️♥️

The Believer And Depression.

I had a rude awakening sometimes last month on believers and depression. I know it may sound a bit hard for Christians to come out and acclaim that they are going through depressing situations, because scripturally speaking, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

For someone who likes to have a plan of what my future would look like, this year has provoked whirlwind of events, I never could have predicted. Coupled together with loss and grief and helplessness, the feeling of having to do something worthwhile but lacking opportunity, at the same time having to postpone whatsoever plans I had made.

Anxiety would always find its way into my heart slowly like a thief in the night, stealing joy, and carting away with the little strength I have.  News after news that I saw on the internet, breaks my heart into tiny pieces. Tears gathering in my eyes, reluctant to fall down my cheeks.

I spent days moping around the house, fighting negative thoughts in my spirit. Every single time, I kept asking myself if that is what I should do as a believer. I believe Jesus would have stood up even when the storms raged and declared peace, He would have recited scriptures upon scripture, taking hold of every thought, taking them captive and bringing them to His Obedience.

I willed my heart to believe that I have the Authority, the same one that Jesus had to take my thoughts captive, to speak joy into my every depressing situation. I wanted to believe that that was what Jesus would have expected from me. But somehow, my heart didn’t just get the memo.

Today, I bring you a narrative from the Bible, someone who had walked in my shoes and maybe yours.

Prophet Elijah.

One of the major prophets in the Bible who did awesome, jaw-dropping works and wonders in Israel. One who had stood right with God that he didn’t see death. This man looked at mighty kings eyeball to eyeball and spoke of God’s punishment on their reign. He slaughtered 450 prophets of the idol, Baal, without hesitation. Raised the dead, spoke to God directly. He was a man of Faith and a powerful man in the Bible.

One day, after declaring war on the family of King Ahab, he could feel his strength slipping through his hands. After hearing the threat of the Queen, he lost it! He ran far away from the City and went to a thick bush to hide.

‘Common Elijah, you just finished clearing up 450 men, you have just called out fire from heaven to burn up a sacrifice that’s literally dripping with water, a threat is so small for you’  We would have thought, at this point.

But He was done with it! He was tired! Broken! Exhausted!

“God, can this just be over and done with?! Can you just take my life?! Let me join my ancestors, none of them even did what I did, and they are resting well!” Elijah cried out.

Of course, some of us have been there, done that. Questioned the reason for our existence.  Was so tired of living that the idea of not living looked pleasant to us.

Tired of complaining, Elijah fell asleep. God looked from heaven with compassion in his eyes as he sent angels to come to be of help to him. God definitely knows the magic food does to man’s heart because he sent the angels with food and water to nourish him.

‘Get up Elijah, go on a journey, stay there till I pass by’ God commanded.

“God, show me your face! I want to see you! I want to hear your soothing words” I would cry at that time in my life.

Elijah went on this journey and came to Horeb, stood on the mountain and waited for God.

Truly a hurricane wind passed through the mountain, shattered rocks and guess what? God was not in the hurricane.

In my quest to finding peace, I might have expected an intense, heavenly invasion. Like the host of heaven would just arrive at my place that day and fill me with so much joy, happiness and strength. But none of that happened.

Elijah waited again, and this time, it was an Earthquake. Oh! God must be one to show up in a grand style. But, that wasn’t God.

Since I didn’t get an invasion, I might have waited for a groundbreaking, earth-shattering encounter. In my head, I imagined having such a powerful encounter that even my neighbours would tell the tales. But there was nothing!

Just my tears and my weary soul.

After the Earthquake at Mount Horeb, came the fire. Yess! The consuming fire is here. God is here! But He wasn’t present either.

Oh, since I didn’t experience an invasion and an encounter, maybe God will show up in a revival. Maybe if I pray for more fire in my bones, I would find peace. I thought.

At this point, Elijah must be tired because I was.

‘God, are you playing games with me? I just want Peace of mind. I just want the reassurance of your promises. I just want you to tell me what to do with my life, in this period of uncertainty’ I cried out again.

And then came the quiet whisper. On the mountains of Horeb and in my heart.

God is speaking! God showed up! And then in the whisper, God brought the solution. For Prophet Elijah, it was a person, someone who will follow after his footsteps all the while supporting him while he was still alive. To me, it was this peace that surpasses human understanding that I felt, knowing that no matter what happens, God will always have my back.

Oh to you it might be a person too, or an encounter, an answer to prayer, or an idea.

You see, as believers, it’s okay to experience depression, to be anxious. It’s okay to throw the towel in and bawl our eyes out.

What is not okay is to remain in the storm. What is not okay is to turn your back against God. What is not okay is to assume that God would never help you or is incapable of helping you, because He is always willing to help.

Maybe God is waiting for you to take a pause, to breathe, to rest. To stop worrying about a future he already predestined for greatness. To forget about a past He already revoked.

Maybe He is asking you to just listen to His calm voice like the soothing sound of an ocean after a stormy night. He’s waiting for you to be still and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He’s GOD.

I end with this scripture.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Isaiah 43:2 NIV

The Bible didn’t record that we wouldn’t pass through stormy waters. It didn’t say they there wouldn’t come a day when our faith isn’t tested by fire (read as trials) It didn’t say that we wouldn’t pass through oceans that we think might drown us.

What He said is that, we will not be consumed. Read that again.

The flames, the trials, the tears, the pains might come, but remember, we will not be consumed.

Maybe you don’t see it now, maybe it’s hard for you to feel God in your situation now, remember that He’s working. Always working. And He will never stop working.

I love you all forever.❤❤

Recommended  Bible Text: 1 Kings 19

Who Am I?

“Mirror mirror on the wall

Who’s the ugliest of them all?

Mirror mirror on the wall

Surely, the fattest amongst them”

And then the mocking laughter of skinny high school girls followed.

That was the chorus the legion of girls gathered at the school’s bathroom would always sing whenever I stood by the mirror staring at the awful, fleshly-without-any trend, sad soul that I have become.

Okay, that was exaggerated. I have always been fleshly in every direction.

I grew up sucking my tummy in, so my classmates wouldn’t remind me of how flabby they were. I grew up accustomed to the name “FAT” so you can call it my middle name. I was scared of trying new clothes on because I believed they wouldn’t fit anyway.

Nobody, I mean, nobody liked being seen with me. Really, who wants to be friends with a person who don’t belong? I was trapped down by people. Called names by them. Hated myself for being so fat.

People who tried to be nice would call me beautiful when I wear the crown of a mess so well. I am tired of living. It takes effort to breathe and not wish to break. It takes effort to feed and not retch after. Right now, I still avoid the mirror. I still don’t have friends. I still hate myself.

*********

Students in blue and white uniform scuttling all-around at 9 am on Monday morning only meant one thing. Test results are out. I clutched my school bag tightly and slowly walked to the classroom. Noises and gentle whispers flew around as everyone tried to see what their results were.

‘Micheal’ The teacher called out my name in a very stern manner.

‘Ma’ I managed to mumble a reply.

‘Come to my table and get your results’ She said.

My legs were wobbling even as I stood beside the teacher’s table waiting for the results. Finally, after what seemed like ages to me, she handed me a white file. I thanked her and turned to take my leave.

‘Come back here mister, don’t you want to tell us what your test results says?’ Oh wow. Something is definitely wrong!

‘Ermm.. should I?’

“Yes you should, everyone already did.”

Shivering, I opened the file and saw my results. All Fs. Why wasn’t I even surprised? This won’t be the first time.

All eyes were on me at that moment. Everybody wanted to know what Michael’s results were. Maybe because everyone knew me better than to expect something praiseworthy or commending. Their eyes held embarrassment in them.

“It isn’t good ma” I finally said to the teacher.

“Alright, you may go now” she said, shaking her head in disappointment.

Dragging my feet with me, I walked to my seat and watched my small world crumbling.

Again.

***********

My name is Melody and I’m the girl you see on the billboard of my school and on the billboard of the only active basketball team in town. I’m the 14-year-old 6ft tall, dark-skinned(more like black) girl.

I’m the youngest yet the tallest among my colleagues.

You see, people love me, or at least, they say so when they need me. Need me to play a game on the basketball court because, for a tall girl like me, basketball should be my calling. Need me to shine my 32s and model for the school even when the photographer is looking at me with prying eyes and so much scepticism, wondering how I could be that tall.

I’ve been tired of my life since I was old enough to know how abnormal I am. I couldn’t sing in children carols because I looked like every one of the kid’s elder sister. Couldn’t attend Kindergarten because the teachers doubted my age. No normal toddler was supposed to be that tall.

I couldn’t attend school parties with a date because it somehow deflates the ego of boys to be the short boyfriend to the tall girl and a girl who looked like what the world was before God said ‘Let there be light’

You see, I don’t hate myself anymore. I’ve done more than enough in the past.

But I blame myself. I blame my parents for providing such genes and creating a baby monster(not my words, but one of my notorious classmate) I blame my teachers for being so sceptical. And I blame my colleagues for letting my colour and my height obstruct them from seeing my good heart.

FINDING YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST.

3 people, 3 different stories. 1 major crises.

Identity. The question of “Who am I?”

Naturally, when we get asked this question, the first way to respond is to say our names, probably brag a little about our success, our jobs, our titles and achievements.

So what happens when we don’t meet up to the standards that society has created? When we don’t fit into people’s opinion of us? When society calls you the opposite of beautiful? When they make you feel less accepted and loved because of something that you can’t change? What happens to us then?

We begin to create a new name for ourselves. We begin to lose sight of who we are in order to fit into the opinions of other people.

Your identity is not defined by society neither is it defined by your personality or bodily features. It isn’t defined by your achievements or success story. Your true identity comes from just one source; God.

The moment you come to know God and genuinely believe in Him, you’ve been given a new identity. A new name.

Only the manufacturer of a product can know the intricacies of such a product. So also, only God, the creator of everything that has breath, can know the details and exquisiteness of such creation.

And here’s the wonderful news! God knows you! He knows every bit of you and He named you right when He made you. But do you know who you are?

When you look in the mirror and think you’re ugly, do you know that He calls you beautiful?

When you look at your exam grade and see a big fat zero, do you know that He still calls you a success?

When you think nobody likes you, do you know just how much He loves you?

When you see yourself as a mess, do you know that He calls you His masterpiece?

Yes!!!

You are a Child of God.

You’re Incredibly Loved by God.

You’re Free from any Condemnation.

You’re Enough in Christ.

You’re Completely Forgiven.

You’re seen as Holy and Whole in the Father’s eyes.

You’re Made Alive in Christ.

You have Access to the Father.

You’re Blameless and Completely Without Reproach.

You’re Never a Failure for you have the Mind of God.

You can do ALL things Through Christ Who Strengthens you.

Still in doubts of who you are? Go over these lists and many more in the Bible (I’d strongly recommend you read Ephesians chapter 1)

Believe them with your whole heart. Confess them daily. Know these and know peace. Know these and know freedom. Know these and know who you are in Christ Jesus.

His Masterpiece.

The one He knew was worth dying for.❤️❤️

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