A Selfless Love story—Part 2

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Christmas is around the corner and we are gradually winding down to the end of the year.  We have a lot of things in the works: ‘our charity visit on the 22nd, moving to our official website and restructuring the organization’ All we ask is that you remember us in your prayers, read, share,comment, subscribe and generally live your life better and for Christ. I know you cannot wait to start reading, now dig in

The last thing I hear is a voice yelling “call an ambulance!”before I lose consciousness. I don’t know how long I was out for, but I wake to voices sounding like they were coming from a thousand miles away. I try to open my eyes, but my head was banging, i tried to lift my arms but they were sore and heavy. I could hear murmurs around me and the crackling sound of a fire next to me. Where was I? Who were they? I slowly try to open my eyes and all I can see is a blurry image of a man in white. “Am I in heaven?” I croaked but no one seemed to hear me. Why was my mouth bitter and throat dry? I could hear mother’s voice from a distance and she sounded worried and tired. What had happened? I tried harder this time to open my eyes. At first all I could still see was the same blurry vision of people I couldn’t recognize then it all came back! These people brought the news that turned my day into night! The news that has left a deep hole inside my heart! My soul mate had died! I was never going to see my best-man again! I was never going to see his dark and handsome face! I was never going to see his dimpled smile that brightened my days and warmed my heart! Oh God! Does it mean all I have now are memories of time shared and regrets of time lost?! Hot tears began to find their way down my face.

I shut my eyes and opened them hoping this bad dream would end and my husband would come home as he promised. I looked around and nothing had changed! I saw the men leave, still my best-man was nowhere. Deep sorrow shook me from my core as my silent tears turned into cries and then I wailed! I screamed so hard my voice would have reached the heavens. Mother rushed towards me and held me tight. She rocked me and cried too. We cried till there was nothing left. I had often heard mother sing hymns (some of which were my best-man favorites) we would sing and burst into tears midway. I was still hoping it was all a huge joke or mistake or anything that would make this all a lie.

We hear a knock on the door, mother went to get it. I was hoping the soldiers were back to tell us it was a mix-up but no, it was our neighbors paying us a condolence visit. How bad news travel fast. I heard them mumble some words that they must have thought would make us feel better. I zone them out and travel down memory lane of my best-man, I recall the time we spent in college and all the dreams we had. Tears roll down my eyes as I shut the world out.

I was burning up, a sudden fever had come upon me as I was still in shock, I saw mother rush towards me with a basin, she looked so frail.I heard someone say to her: “Mummy bring it I will do it, you can sit down and relax.”

Mother refused.

I could feel the warmth of her quivering hands on my forehead as she used a cold towel to bathe me. I closed my eyes drowning in my memories. All I could think of was why? How?

Why did he have to go?

How do I go on?

He was serving his country? He was so loyal, even when I didn’t want him to go, he still did so why did God not protect him. I felt pain like a physical ache and I wished that death could take me, so I could be with him.

I open my eyes and I meet mother’s. I looked into her eyes at the same moment she looked into mine. She saw the questions in my eyes and I knew she could feel the pain I was passing through. She had aged by years in just a few hours. Aging caused only by heartbreak. I wondered how she felt losing a son, how she could still hold up after all that had happened.

I wanted to tell her that this was not going as I planned it.

I wanted to tell her that I was supposed to have kids and grow old with my husband living happily ever after.

I wanted to say that I had it all written down in my little journal that I carried everywhere I went.

But my lips failed me as I felt tears gushing out of my eyes again. I saw tears rolling down mother’s eyes too, but she rushed to wipe them, gripped herself together immediately and mouthed to me, “Trust God”.

I didn’t understand how someone who had just lost a child could still act this way. Our neighbors left, sympathizers came and left. The army came with full support, my best-man was sent off in style! If he were alive he would have made a joke or two about the ceremony. It was a beautiful sad event!

Days turned into months and the pain remained as fresh as when those two men came to announce the death of my husband.

Mother was everything you could ever imagine, her faith never wavered! Many times, I would glimpse at her and see her hurry to wipe off the tears that had fallen from her eyes.

She was stronger than I ever could be, the source of her strength I could never really tell. I no longer prayed or read my bible, I could not relate to the God who could take away my happiness away in a twinkle of an eye. I did not understand how my life was over in a blink. I was a walking dead, I was on auto-pilot most times and my schedule were strictly work and home. Mother tried but I just couldn’t seem to move past my pain. I was stuck in my misery and I didn’t see a way past it.

One evening I was preparing dinner, when mother came to sit next to me. She talked and praised me for being the daughter she never had. She said she had really hoped things had panned out differently, but she was still grateful to God anyway.  I was yet to understand how she could be grateful to God for taking away her children and husband, leaving no one to continue the family name.  We that is Mother, and I had started reading the bible together, something that started to pass time to ease the pain, but I was gradually getting my faith back, one step at a time. I wondered where the conversation was headed but didn’t have to wait for long. Her voice tired and resigned said “I came to this country in a search for a better life with my family. I came here full but look at me now…I have nothing left. And as the adage in my county, if you can no longer proceed forward, then it’s time to go back. My daughter, I love you like you are mine that’s why I want you to go,live your life, find love again, while I return to my fatherland”. She said I was young and beautiful and could start life afresh.

I was hurt! Did mother think I could move on without her? Did she think I would let her be by herself?

“No mother! I will go nowhere” I responded

Where you go I will follow and I will start this new life with you. I will love Nigeria and its people like I love my country and I will continue this walk of faith that I have started.

I continued with my cooking as I wondered if mother knew how much I loved her…

See you all next week as we continue this exciting journey and just may be the story might come to an end next week. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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A Selfless Love story—Part 1

Hello tribe.  Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. I have been looking forward to this!  #MondayswithGWA is here to stay. Now dig in:

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I’ll enjoy telling it. I hope you can pick a thing or two and share how it relates to you.

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I am your average American girl, a stable home, beautiful looks, brains and guts. I had life easy, some will say too easy. I had access to things that I now realize I took for granted. In short,I had a good life (I still do). My whole life was lived according to a plan I had mapped out and even written down in my journal. From the schools I attended to people I could call friends, to where I interned, to the company I now work for and courses I took. I had a deliberate road map of how my life was going to turn out. I had even penned down the age I would get married, the kind of man he would be, his social status; when I would give birth and even how many children I would have…  but you know what they say…” the best things happen in-between your plans” (something like that)in between all my numerous plans I met the best man in the world! 

We met in college, at a time when I wasn’t thinking of dating. Yes, it was not in my well laid out plans, so I played hard to get for a long while before I finally gave in because what an African man wants, he gets. That’s what he said, quite cheeky of him. Lol (yes, my best man hails from the rich soil of Nigeria). His family had relocated to America when he was sixteen because his father had gotten a job here and wanted a “better life” for his family. Dating my best-man as I called him was the best experience as at that time. Though we rarely saw each other as about a year into our relationship he joined the army, it was a whole new experience being with someone who made me his priority. Our relationship was filled with constant love; pampering; growth. The relationship changed me in so many ways. I became a whole new being. I grew in strength, my spiritual life became much better, I could no longer be limited, and I learnt to forgive,not to hold grudges. He was my prayer partner and I learnt to love God more deeply and walk in his path.

His family was more than welcoming. Though he had lost his father a few years before we met, his mother and brother were warm! His mother treated me like the daughter she never had, and I was overwhelmed with love. I often wished his mother was my mother. My mother loved me, she loves me, but I have never felt that complete undemanding, unconditional love like I felt when I was around his mum. I felt totally at ease and comfortable around them and often had to be reminded to go home. (Yes, you can laugh because I am laughing at myself retelling this story).

Exactly 2 years, 4 months and 12 days into our relationship he proposed! He had come home in between stations, looking all dapper in his uniform, one knee down, a flower and a ring and the best question I ever heard.It was not exactly as I envisioned it, I wanted something romantic: a trip to the Bahamas or Paris, lights, candles, family and friends and the big question. Something Instagram-worthy. I could imagine the hashtag #MeettheWilliams. Awww, love is so sweet, true love that is. However, I could not have been more excited to say yes as I had no iota of doubt that this was who I wanted to spend the rest of my life, this was my Prince, the one God had prepared for me, the one who would lead me closer to God and make me a princess fit for my King and Lord. We were wed 2 weeks later much to his mother’s horror as she wanted a big wedding, but he was going to begone for a long time and we wanted to be wed! We had probably the shortest honeymoon ever as two days after our wedding I bid my husband farewell as he went off to his new assignment. With teary eyes I joined my new mother in the car and drove to her house which was now mine. My husband wanted me to move in with his mom as he didn’t have a house of his own due to the nature of his job and didn’t want me all by myself, so I moved!

The first 6 months of married life was overwhelming. I struggled with being newly wedded to being a young wife to a man fighting a war I didn’t understand but he was determined to serve his country and living with my mother in-law made it a thousand times more bearable. We would pray together, talk about my husband’s growing up and life together, read his letters together(well some of them as some of them were for my eyes only. Yes, my best man was a poet). She taught me so many Nigerian recipes, so I could wow my husband when he returned as she kept telling me how the way to a man’s heart is through his belly. She told me so much about home that I fell in love with the place. We would always joke about how she wanted to be buried in her homeland when she passes on…beneath the jokes I could tell how much she missed home.

Then it happened.

We had gotten a letter that my best man was coming home,this time for good. Every day was steeped in anticipation …looking out the window several times of the day once we sensed or felt movement. I could not wait for him to be back, so I could sleep at night without wondering if the war was going to take him captive, nights spent sleeping in his shirt and entreating God for mercy on him so that he could come home where he belonged. This day was no exception, we had looked out several times..it was a job! I heard a car outside our home and looked out then screamed, danced and raced downstairs all at the same time! “He’s back! He’s back!!” I rush out gasping for breath then paused…something was not right. Why were there two men in uniform and not one? Wait…my husband isn’t even here. “Oh God” I heard their voice just as mama made it to my side “are you Mrs Ade-williams” I nod in fear as my worst fears were confirmed. All I heard was ” I am sorry..­died in battle…hero” before the darkness enveloped me and I slumped.

 See you all next week as we continue this exciting journey. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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Learning to ask WHY

Awww. This is the first post this month. Things are cooking. We have missed you all tremendously and we are back and yes better. Monday mornings with #GWA is here to stay. We would be talking about #LearningtoaskWhy. You want to know what exactly this means and how this affects you; now read:

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A couple of years ago(roughly four years) I lost a friend, not just any friend but one whose life was dedicated to being a bridge that brought people together, the pain was almost unbearable, cried and hurt till I felt empty. Life gone in a twinkle of an eye; plans disrupted, and a void created. From then I have lost a grandfather, an uncle and another relative. Recently, a very close friend of mine lost her fiancé who was also a mutual friend to I and my other friend who had died four years ago, the pain was overwhelming, and it brought back a lot of memories of loss and just when I thought it could not get any worse, my uncle passed away.

Now comes the time for what-ifs, regrets, wishes unfulfilled, words left unspoken, goodbyes left unsaid, thoughts and actions not implemented, praises and compliments not given, the sadness that marks the demise of a loved one and the ultimate question why?

Why him? Why her?

Why did he have to go?

Why didn’t he stay longer?

Why was I not given the opportunity to say goodbye?

How do I move on?

How do I cope and keep on living?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why did God take him or her?

How could God have sat and allowed this happen?

How do you console the family of the bereaved?

How do you stay strong?

Why do you even have to be strong?

These and more were the questions that ran through my mind when I heard the news, the shock, the disbelief, the pain, the heartache, the tears and the night spent wishing a miracle could happen; wishing, hoping praying that it would all be a bad dream,one I would wake up from and learn that he was okay. It never happened, and we learnt to live with the pain that never fully goes away.

Friends told me God gives and God takes, we cannot question him. I had questions; lots of them, I wondered why he didn’t get healed, why he had to go when he had so much to live for, why God called him home when he did. I never asked them because I was told you didn’t ask God questions. His journey on earth had come to an end. I didn’t think of it again until this year when my friend lost her fiancé and she asked why he had to die, why weren’t her prayers answered, he was serving his country why couldn’t he be protected. It tore my heart and I remembered what happened when my friend died. I didn’t have answers for her and I told her that she should take those questions to God.

You see God gives and He takes, He does not require our permission before He creates, likewise He does not require our permission when He decides that man’s journey on earth has come to an end, but we have a right, we can ask him questions. He is not an unfeeling God, He is father of us all and he holds the answer to all our questions. For with acceptance comes understanding and understanding can only come from enlightenment which can only come from answered questions. God is not too busy that he does not have time for your seemingly-to-other people unimportant taken-for-granted questions. He knows, He feels your pain, it hurts Him that you hurt and yes His ways are not our ways and just may be that sick person needs to be in the father’s embrace to rest, yet there are lots of persons whose lives end in a flash, who for their loves ones they had no chance to say goodbye.

It is okay to ask God questions when you do not understand. It is okay to seek enlightenment on why things are the way they are and trust me He will answer. He is big enough for our questions and doubt, they do not take anything away from who He is. However,to ask questions, we must come with the right attitude, come to Him humbly,believing that He holds all the answers we seek. It is the heart behind the asking that matters. We are humans, frail beings by nature, our dependency comes alone from the Father. The answer may be a knowing in your heart that this is his will for that person, a passage from the bible that brings comfort to your heart that they really are in a better place far away from the hardships of the world, a peace that tells you he is aware and he understands,the comfort and solace from friends and other loved ones.

It is unfair to tell a grieving person not to ask God questions, to give that easy-to-say until-you-have-been-in-their-shoes: ‘God gives, and God takes, who are we to question Him’ response. If you do not know what to say, keep quiet and just let them cry on your shoulders. The time will come when their minds and hearts are ready to accept that Yes, God does give, and God takes away in his own time and according to his own purpose. The grieving person can ask and he or she shall receive understanding that makes the pain easier to live with.

And as I am learning in Jeremiah 29:11-13, “I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. You will seek me, and you will find me because you seek me with all your heart.” His plans are always for my good, his thoughts towards me are those that will bring the future I hope for no matter how painful and harrowing the journey might be. I am learning to acknowledge as He says in Isaiah 55:8 ‘My thoughts, says the Lord,are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours.” meaning that God’s plans for us, and His interpretation of the plans for our welfare, future and hope may not necessarily line up with ours but they will be better than we can imagine and His plans will give us the future we hope for and give Him glory. We need to trust and have faith that God keeps his words, he is not man that he should go back on his words. We can learn to thank God in our sufferings and pains same as we thank Him in the victories He gives us. I am learning that the life of a Christian is not free from hardships, Christ did not promise a smooth ride, he even asks that we take up our cross and follow him but believe that He will be there the entire time, lean on him and He will give us the strength to carry through any pain, heartache or loss. I am learning to understand that the decisions He takes are not taken lightly, He knows the end from the beginning,that there are lessons to be learnt in any situation even the loss of a loved one, that they could be the answers to a prayer, his way to draw us closer to himself. And he would do whatever it takes to have us to Himself, joined in perfect union with the one who loved us even before we existed.

Think about it: “He loves you with a love that is so pure, a love that defies reasoning, He loves you enough to send His Son, to give Him up to death. He knows what it feels when a loved one dies, He saw Jesus die, He sees your pains, he understands and will give you the answers you seek as long as you come to him in humility and prayers.” And as the bible says in Romans 8:35-39: ‘’ Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or death? As the scripture says, ‘For your sake we are in danger of death at all times; we are treated like sheep that are going to be slaughtered.’No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below – there is nothing in all creation that will separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The hope we have is an everlasting hope that one day we would meet to part no more and we would be able to say: ‘Where, Death is your victory? Where, Death is your power to hurt?’Until then we live our lives in preparedness for that day, so the question is: ‘If death comes knocking, are you ready?’

See you all next week as we take you on an exciting journey. Do you know what we will be discussing? Stay tuned and God bless you all. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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