WOMAN THAT ART CALLED TO STAND OUT

Now this post is a bit on the lengthy side, so grab a glass of wine or if you are like me a glass of Hollandia yoghurt strawberry-flavoured and read. Just kidding but do read and I hope you enjoy it.

I was listening to the radio talk show and the presenter talked about receiving a call from a coursemate and the ‘said’ coursemate asked if she had gotten a ‘Phd’ and she was like No and she went ahead to ask the coursemate if she had gotten hers and she said yes and the presenter went further to ask which university she had gotten the ‘Phd’ from and the coursemate laughed and said it was not the academic ‘Phd’ she was talking about, that ‘Phd’ translated to ‘Pikin, Husband and Degree’.
It struck something in me, how could Someone who graduated from the university still reason like that? I asked myself this hugely important question: “Is Marriage and having a family the ultimate, the only goal to which a lady must aspire to?” Don’t get me wrong, I do want to get married, its part of my prayer points and I also pray for my Husband wherever He is. I also get the fact that our African culture has conditioned our mentality to think that a lady who isn’t married at a particular age is a colossal failure while the same culture doesn’t place the same stress on a man, a culture that places the blame for childlessness at the foot of the woman and forgets that it takes two to produce a child.
A lady grows up from childhood and all her life she is prepared for one thing, ‘Marriage’. Now it is good to prepare your child for that sacred vocation but that isn’t what all her life should revolve around.
As a woman, you are a life-changer. God has placed a great deal on your shoulders. You are not meant to join the bandwagon and attain the status quo. You are meant to be different, unique for the destiny of the world lies on you.
What happens when ‘Mr Right’ isn’t quick in coming, does your life get a pause button. It pains me to see ladies in relationships that are clearly not working or obviously not leading anywhere or even worse relationships that has no love and no Christ, all because the ‘said’ guy has said he would marry them. Ahn ahn perfectly sane , hardworking women turn to mush because they do not want others to think they cannot keep a man or a relationship. I laugh when I remember my friend saying he would teach me how to keep a man and I am like do I really need to be taught. His reason for that was because I didn’t like going out and interacting with others. Now I know I don’t know everything I need to know about marriage but I do wonder if going out and being ‘sociable’ has anything to do with “keeping a man or relationship “. I am an ambivert so I sometimes find it hard meeting people but then I have friends and I interact with others.
I told myself the very day I left the university was the end of ‘senseless’ relationships, relationships just for the sake of being in a relationship. Now someone who knows me might say oh, she is relatively young so she can afford to talk like that. That won’t be the truth because I know those younger than I am getting married. I can talk like this because I know that I am different, unique, one of a kind. I know what God has called me to be; I know the vision that I want to achieve and I know that someone who doesn’t share that vision and won’t help me better isn’t right for me. I won’t compromise on that.
I have had and made my own share of mistakes, I have being in relationships because everyone was in one and I didn’t want to be different. The truth remains that I can’t help being different. I was called to be different, to stand out, to do something different, to touch lives no matter little, to make an impact and WOMAN that is the same ministry to which you have been called into. You can’t afford to take that call lightly.
My aunt used to tell me that “Love isn’t blind, deaf or dumb”. Love becomes blind only when you refuse to see the fault of that person, human beings are frail no doubt but a fault of character is one only Christ can change. Love becomes deaf when you refuse the voice of warning pleading for you to stop and reconsider. Love is only dumb when you refuse to speak out and accept that things would change.
We hear stories of spousal violence and I tell my friends that a broken relationship is far better than a broken marriage. Walk out now before you sink in too deep. Don’t stay out of pity or desperation. Don’t stay because all your friends are in a relationship and are getting married. Be in a relationship where there is peace, there is love, where God has called you to be in. Until then, enjoy the days of Singlehood.

WOMAN; the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. They say that behind every successful man is a successful and praying woman. You have the destiny of the whole world on your shoulders and that is so great a burden that you must tread lightly. You are a life-changer, a vision-bearer, a nurturer and a myriad of things God has called you to be. Your life goals doesn’t end in ‘Pikin, Husband and a Degree’ that decorates the wall. You are challenged to dare to be different. Dare to stand out because WOMAN thou art called to STAND OUT!!!
WOMAN, ARISE AND ANSWER THAT CALL!!!

Say no to insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria. God bless you all.

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SECOND CHANCES

In one of my previous articles I wrote about knowing a God that gave not only second chances but third and fourth and as many chances as we need just to draw us closer to Himself because He does not delight in the death of a sinner and this brings me to the issue of second chances. I have been doing a lot of thinking and looking back at my own life and my failings and shortcomings.
To be truthful I have gotten more chances than I care to count. I am very familiar with the cry: ‘Lord just this once, just this one more chance.” I have given my life to Him countless times and continually rededicated myself to Him but I find myself sliding back to the habits of old. It is not that I do not love God because I know that I love Him but I read somewhere that we often do not love God enough to stop sinning; I think that is the truth.

There are times when I know I should not do something or when I should speak up against something and I close my mouth because I want to please someone or because I do not want to lose a friend. Then the question is what if in my quest to please someone other than God and I lose both the friendship and God, what then becomes of me?

Romans 6: 1-2 puts it this way: ‘what shall we say, then? Should we continue to live in sin so that God’s grace will continue to increase? Certainly not! We have died to sin – how then can we go on living in it? Simply put; ‘Chels will you keep misusing the chances God has given you and making a sham of His grace.’ Hebrews 6: 6 says that “…It is impossible to bring them back to repent again, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and exposing Him to public shame”. We send Christ all the way to Calvary each time we sin.
Our sins are not such that people can see but it is often a secret besetting sin, which makes us cringe in shame. It is often easier to please others than to please God who created us and from whom we came into existence. It is not easy to say no to sin, we are often swayed by temptations, but then in the midst of our fall from grace, I hope we can find the throne of mercy and pick ourselves up and ask God for forgiveness. Merciful that He is, He is sure to forgive us as long as we ask with sincerity of hearts.
Second chances are important because we humans are prone to falling in our heavenly race because as St. Paul puts it in Romans 7: 19 ‘I do not do the good I want to do; instead I do the evil that I do not want to do.’ Psalms 90: 12 says: ‘Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.’ We need to become wise to the fact that even though God is merciful, He indeed is a jealous God; wise to see the devil’s tactics and see sin for what it really is- an act of disobedience.
Now is a time for sober reflection, a time to take a critical look at our lives and get rid of the lazy addiction to evil. It becomes a time to deny ourselves of fleeting pleasures and look towards Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith; also, it is time to ask God to make our hearts like His.
I hope that most people learn that God gives us a chance to change our ways. No matter how many times you fall, He is willing to pick you up. It says in Ephesians 2 vs. 4: “But God’s mercy is so abundant and His love for us is so great.” He implores us to draw closer to him in prayer. He stretches out his hands and invites us to share in his eternal banquet. He invites us to willingly drop our burdens at his feet and pick up His yoke. He says His grace is abundant and His mercies ever new. He asks us if anything is impossible for Him to do. He begs us to drop all our cares and worries at the foot of the cross.
I hope we all learn not to take God’s offer of second chances for granted.

Say no to insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria. God bless you all.

TWO YEARS OF BLOGGING

Yipee, it’s two years since I started blogging. How time flies! its been Two crazy but wonderful years, years filled with inconsistencies and for that I am absolutely sorry. I am not going to be dishing out excuses as to why I have not been on the blogging scene but I am promising to be much more consistent but I am certain you must have heard that promise before but please give me one more chance. My friend says i have been asleep all these while and now am awake, the spirit has been renewed.Thanks to my wonderful readers and subscribers who continually make the effort to read and a special thanks to those who make the effort to drop a comment. You all are dear to my heart. It’s been wonderful dishing out timely pieces and I can only pray that the source of inspiration never runs dry. Writing has been for me the most sane part of me. I am not one given to too many words but when I write I can go on and on and for that gift to be able to mould words to make meaning, I say thank you Lord. It’s been You all the way. Here is to many more wonderful years ahead.

In the same vein, happy birthday to Fisayo, Bede and Nebraska, wishing you the very best of today and always. Hmmmm, Black its been 19months since you left us, Rest in peace.

Say no to Insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria. God bless you all.

CHRISTIANITY OF CONVENIENCE

Many Christians are not out for what they can and would do for Christ but only what Christ can and would do for them. Many Christians are only Christians when it is convenient and comfortable to be one. When the mantle of Christianity becomes inconvenient, they drop it like hot coal.
Christianity is not a religion of convenience. There is no pick or choose, you do not decide the times when you can be a Christian or not. When you are a Christian, it is ALL or nothing. The way of a Christian is not often smooth, it is filled with obstacles, temptation, trials, hard times, testing of our faith. Yes, God has promised everything good, you just have to open your Bible to see the numerous and often awe inspiring promises and miracles. Yet He did not promise a life without challenges (even the apostles had their fair share of the challenges) but He promises that in spite of the challenges He will be with us, He will help us shoulder the load and we will find a peace that surpasses understanding.
At times when we are faced with tough situations, we forget that we are Christians, we renounce our Christians vows, we become free thinkers, we join the world, we try to rationalize our behaviors and make excuses for our actions, and inactions by saying God will understand. What exactly do we want God to understand; that we can’t stand our ground or that we cannot witness to Him or may be that our faith is not strong enough or we lack trust in Him or rather we are neither hot nor cold, just going wherever the winds of life blows us.
When things do not go our way or we become overwhelmed by life’s problems; or it feels like God no longer inhabits Heaven and as such forgotten we exist and do not answer our prayers. We begin to question our faith as Christians, we begin to wonder if God really exist or He is just a legend or a figment of our imaginations (some people have vivid imaginations). We ask ourselves if God is alive, we forget all the teachings we normally profess when things are rosy, we abandon the hymns of standing on His promises. At that time, Christianity has become inconvenient especially when we have others offering us an alternative. Life has challenged us, our faith has been tested, and we fall.
God says He will supply all our needs not wants (Man is insatiable; the tendency to ask and ask is something we all most control). I like the way the Good News Bible puts the first verse of Psalm 23, it says: “The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I NEED.” (Emphasis on the word need not want)
Today we are called not to a Christianity of convenience but to a Christianity that embraces Christ in all situations; both in suffering and in triumph, in pain and in gain, even when life seems to have no meaning and it feels like the world is closing in us. It is often said that there is no crown without a cross and that goes for the way of a Christian even our Lord and master learnt obedience through suffering (obedience to the perfect will of the Father). He went the way of the cross. Life would not always be sweet, we must learn to accept the sweet and the sour and be rest assured that your Father has willed so. Nothing happens without his knowledge, nothing happens without his permission. We must accept our crosses and carry them along with Christ. He leads and we follow and every load, every burden, every yoke is made lighter.
Be a Christian at all times, convenient or not!

Say no to insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria. God bless you all.

FINALLY ITS OVER

This is a throwback post. I should have done this last year. But I didn’t so here it is. So this is a Long post, grab your glass of wine and relax and enjoy. Laugh all you want.

I cannot describe how happy I am. Words fail me today. Hmmmmm! I remember when this journey started in 2013. I was in my final year planning on how we would go for ‘batch C’ come November 2013 but God had his own plans and ASUU asked us to go for sabbatical for 6months and that crushed our plans for Nov. 2013. Come March 2014 we had not even defended our projects by the time orientation camp started, so we zeroed our minds on going for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (Now your suffering continues to some people) in June. However, that was not to be as we heard that it had been shifted to August, we were like, ‘okay, another two months won’t hurt.’ Little did we know that we were going to be given a devastating blow by the lauded School of Management Technology who didn’t send any names for service. We were distraught, if we could pick weapons and go to war we would have done so but that was not to be either, so we resigned ourselves to going for service November 2014 even with the rumors that there was not going to be a ‘batch C’ that year.
As always, God’s plans were and are for good, mobilization list came out, and my name was among the other fortunate ones going for service that November. Time came for the online registration and payment for call-up letter (₦4000, NYSC you people are thieves but I can only say that now that I have my certificate but don’t tell them I said so, so that they don’t come and collect the certificate back, just kidding.) As if the online registration was not enough, they asked us to go and change our date of birth (ahn ahn see all the stress NYSC put us through all because we wanted to serve our dearly beloved nation) but being patriotic citizens we followed the due process and went for the change.
Now came the time for hustling for choicest place for service. Everyone, scratch that most or some was paying the exorbitant fee of about ₦30000 – ₦45000 to get places like Lagos, Cross Rivers, Abuja, Akwa-ibom, Bayelsa and Ogun states. I was not part of the crowd but I was sorely tempted to work it to Lagos but I wanted out of Lagos for a while and the experience of serving somewhere different from home so I decided to go where God sent me and yea I was sent to Niger state. My parents were not the happiest people when they received the news. I was posted to the north and with all the stories of ‘boko haram’ and its attendant violence; I cannot say I blame them.
Nevertheless, they had no choice than to allow me go and that saw the start of a journey of one tedious year. It was first to school to pick up the statement of result, print out the call-up letter, and make a lot of photocopies plus other requirements needed. There is no need to list all the numerous items we were expected to come with. November 3rd saw me going to Abuja with my sister and Bunkie of life Amicy who was posted to Kebbi state, that was my first experience of the famed Abuja and to say I was disappointed is stating it lightly.
November 4 being Tuesday, saw the journey to Paiko, Niger state. I got to camp Paiko at around 9am and after the ‘stop and search’ at the gate, a Man O War member gave me the shock of my life. The guy shouted at me to carry my heavy bag on my head (ahn ahn he should have allowed me land before beginning the shouting and the giving of orders, we ladies like to carry load in the name of carrying the essential items). Orientation camp was not funny, I had to carry my heavy bag on my head and squat, run, kneel, and walk for what seemed like miles while being asked to sing some songs with crude lyrics that were too sensitive for my delicate ears and I would not bother to repeat.
We got to the hostel and had to wait in line for beds and hostel spaces, then the proper registration began, and here our ‘₦4000’ saved us some of the other steps that others had to pass through. Then it was back to the hostel with some newfound friends to make my bed and prepare for evening parade. I got to the room and had just got out from the bathroom when I heard the beagle sound for the evening parade. I didn’t believe I could dress up in less than 3minues and be out of the room heading for the parade ground.
We must have done remove headdress abi headache over 100 times that evening before the beagle abi trumpet sounded to alert us that Nigeria had gone to bed and we were allowed to go for dinner. Suffice to say, I never tasted camp food for the whole period we were in camp (call me aje-butter, I will not mind). Wednesday saw me falling on the parade ground from the heat and stress of standing for hours and replacing and removing headache in prep for the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. I especially liked the way the parade commandant said these words, “three hearty cheers to the thief servant (his words not mine, I am sure he meant chief servant) of Niger state Dr. Muazu Aliyu Babangida CON talba Minna Sun dangi Nupe.” It often sounded like the lyrics to a song.
Waking up a 3:30am and sleeping late was not something easy but we sure adjusted and I was posted to rugged rugged platoon 5. I made wonderful friends, Igbo, Yoruba and especially Hausas. I met Dr. Segun my own personal doctor, Shola, Lolade, Rose, Toyosi, and a host of others. I also met my wonderful Bunkie, dammy and Grace, Helen, Adaku my beautiful Miss artificial and Amina, they made camp enjoyable. Camp life continued with its attendant stress, the usual camp romances, the hustling for serving in the state capital, the bomb blast in Kontagora, the boring SAED lectures and other camp activities. I still made wonderful friends there, my beautiful, wonderful and another personal doctor, Dr. Hadiza, Umar, Zachary, Tosin, Seun, Sadigab, Richard, Peter, Paul, Oluwaseun, Funmi, Oluchi, Olawale, Olanrewaju. I also met Olamilekan, Olamide, Olajide, Oladapo, Mujeebat, Michelangelo, Mahi, Lekan, Kim, Jumoke, Jide, my special Jeremy who spoke with a wisdom that left me dazzled, Jennifer, Janet, Jane, Jagaba, Ajuma, Favor, Emmanuel, Dorcas, Busayo, Halima, Ahmed, Abdulazeez, Mooh and some others I cannot for the life of me remember now. My shout out goes to you all, you are all remembered.
Camp came and went and alas, I got posted to Kaliko aka ‘KK city without light’ in Wushishi local government or as my friend Dapo puts it Winchin Winchin local govt. I could not believe my eyes but I went and I was surprised to meet Sandra who I knew from the hostel and we got posted to the same PPA and she became my roomie of life. We got a warm reception at the local government but came back to meet a lodge without light and all we could hear was ‘ba wuta’ meaning ‘no light’. We heard promises of light by the time we would be back from our three weeks leave but we came January and saw no light and had to learn to accept the situation.
School resumed in earnest and we started teaching. We had to learn how to communicate in basic Hausa and Gwari to be able to impart on the students who didn’t want to learn. Yes, they would have preferred to be with friends, at home, or in the farm or probably married. The prevalence of underage marriage was something I didn’t fully understand until I came for service. I would teach and teach and at the end of the day the students would complain about excessive notes and tell me ‘ba za ne ba’ and ‘ba ga ne ba’ (pardon my Hausa spelling) meaning they didn’t know and they didn’t understand respectively. The backwardness of the people was also something to behold but it taught me something called ‘contentment’. They had no basic amenities that I considered as needed for life but they survived and were okay with the little they had. So throughout my service year, I didn’t travel home, we saw no light even though ‘some pastors abi papas’ had prophesied that we would see light before we left.
Settling down proved a bit difficult, getting to know new people and live with them, far distances to church, market and CDS but we managed and survived. I met a lot of wonderful people in the lodge, Sandra my roomie of life, Char babe my wonderful mama, Bolaji, Happy, Salome, Elijah, Peters, Ifeanyi, Olakunle, Cynthia, Desmond, Ernest, Henry, Femi and Lekan. CDS brought me in contact with Abdulhameed, Francis, Tosin, Buchi, Imelda, Mike, Obinna, Dr. yinka, Damilola and Ifeanyi.
I took the service year as an opportunity to get inducted into NIM and started the lectures, which took a strain on the little peanuts the federal government decided to pay us. I lived about 48km away from Minna where the lectures took place but I did it. I wrote the exams, I passed, and my induction comes up in Lagos a couple of days after POP. You are highly invited, I will keep you all posted and even if you won’t be able to make it I will take pictures and share them with you all. I met Imoleayo, Lucky, Isaac, Nnamdi, Lawrence, Nwando, Hamida, Michael, and a host of others whose names do not come readily to mind. You are appreciated for six wonderful months of NIM and I hope to see some of you in Lagos.
We started the countdown to the end of service in August and I am grateful to God that I am alive to tell the story. It was not easy especially with non-appreciative staff and a principal who cared less as long as he had money in his pockets from the ghost corps members but I heard NYSC has started biometric technology to checkmate the activities of ghost corps members. Sorry but then it is a good initiative so that people would stop earning salaries not worked for; moreover, service is no longer compulsory. Nevertheless, I trust Nigerians that they would find a way to bypass the technology.
My roomie asked me a question one day, she said, ‘after service what next?’I had gotten that question a lot but that day it dawned me that we had been living an idyllic life. We had been going to school, teaching, CDS, learning the language, living like villagers {I tied wrappers a lot and saw a lot of insects and animals that I had never seen before and I also got to see firsthand how crops were planted and how they grew.} We took it for granted that at the end of the month we would be paid that is not to say that we didn’t work for the salary but it was a sure bet that we would be paid. I gave the usual; get a job, masters, get married and start a family but up till then I had not started any intensive search for a job. Sure, I did apply online from time to time but nothing too serious but it was a wakeup call for me to do something. I sure did get a lot of wakeup calls during the service year; most importantly, I got a wakeup call to serve God more faithfully and not to neglect God’s gift in my life.
Therefore, as we trade in our ID card for the certificate of discharge I can proudly say I served my country this past one year in good faith. It was a tough call but I survived despite the constant illness. I forgot, I participated in the elections and the Hausas abi Gwari or Nupe people put the fear of God in me plus the whole stress that I had to undergo but I conducted a free and fair election in my polling unit and no lives were lost but they had to dispatch soldiers to the unit. Therefore, glory to God for successful elections and for Susan Asabe, hope you have given birth by now, my prayers are with you.
Now that service is over, its time to go home and see my parents and family whom I have not seen since January, time to search for a well-paying job, probably start applying for masters and wait for God to send the right man for me while developing myself and making me the right woman.
It is time to face reality. It was fun serving in the North despite the whole fear of ‘boko haram’, the whole ‘no light’ issue, but now I can brag that I am a full Nigerian. I live in the West, I schooled in the East, Project research and travels took me to the South, I served in the North, and I have a basic grasp of the three major languages.
So I ask myself, what next after dropping the khaki.
It is time to face the future.
So welcome to the future.
We came! We saw! We conquered!
Glory and praise to God for making it possible.
I am alive to tell the story.
So to all ‘Batch C’ corps members see you at the top.
To all Team’13 I cannot wait to see your shinning lights and attend plenty weddings and child-naming ceremonies.
We are stepping into the real world and we pray that God orders our steps.
Finally, it is over.
Service yakare.

THE FATHER’S LOVE

Love so pure broke through the rift between creator and creature;
Opened wide the gates of Heaven and won for us so wonderful a redeemer.

Love the kind never experienced before meant the wall erected between earth and heaven was broken down;
And a bridge that connects us to the throne was constructed.

Love so kind makes the father offer not just second or third chances,
But as many chances are as possible to reconcile us back to Himself.

Love so amazing shows us a God who blesses us beyond our wildest dreams;
Who gives us everything we need and gives us His very self.

Love so deep that the more He gives his love to us, the more there is to give, His love is as vast as the ocean and infinite.

Love so powerful that He judges us not but accepts us just the way we are, Love that says come into my outstretched arms.

Love so compelling bids me, bids you, bids us to accept the Father’s love,
To welcome it and know that there is a throne of grace that we can always run to and be safe.

Love asks us not to make the sacrifice of the cross a waste,
Not to continually send Him back through the shameful and disgraceful path back to Calvary.

Accept the Father’s Love today.

Say no to insurgency and Yes to a peaceful Nigeria. God loves you.