A Queen like no other….1

I am excited,we are excited to start #Christianfiction. I said #MondayswithGWA is here to stay and we are kicking off the year with #AqueenlikenoOther and I am so loving this kick-ass, strong independent queen, okay no spoilers, let’s dig in.

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There is something so regal and queenly about this lady.

Hello everyone!

Whew!!! A few people have had their stories told about them and I’m in awe of all the raw emotions they have poured out and it has inspired me to put down my own story for you my beloved friends. I would like to thank you in advance for deciding to take this journey down memory lane with me.

You see, my childhood was different from those of most of my peers in other countries, and even for the wealthy in our country but for us it was the only life we knew. I was orphaned at a very young age and was raised by my beloved uncle. He didn’t have much, in fact he had very little and sometimes he had nothing. We often went to bed with empty bellies or practiced 1-0-0 or 0-0-1 all in a bid to manage the meager income my uncle made. You see, my uncle worked as one of the security guards at the palace of the Oku Ibom Ibibio in our state. He was so close to the rich, yet so far from them. He worked at the gate of the most beautiful house…wait nope let me rephrase! He worked in the most elegant mansion in the state and even the country, but we lived in the dirtiest, lowest slum in the province. You need to visit the palace of the Oku Ibom Ibibio, it was a beauty to behold. Most times, I would pass through and I would imagine how it would feel to live in such opulence and have all these people attend to me, the luxury was something we could not afford living in the slums, yet we were happy. My uncle showed me so much love, he called me ‘Uyai mmi, Uyai Abasi’

From a very tender age, my uncle groomed me in the ways of the Lord. He taught me about humility, hard work, perseverance and good works. We didn’t have much, we never even have enough but we always made in a point of duty to share whatever we had with those around us. At times I did not understand how my uncle could be so happy, how he could give so much without a thought to his own comfort, how he did not mind going to bed on an empty stomach, if it meant that someone who was in greater need could smile. For my uncle, it was all about putting a smile on the face of others. He would tell me this every time I asked why he did what he did: ‘We ought to serve everyone just as Jesus did. He came to serve us, our creator died for us, we can only give so much to others for all we have and are comes from him.”

As I grew older, I began to understand the happenings around. I saw the wide gap between us and them, them being the wealthy of our society…our “lords” siphoning the monies meant for the masses, throwing parties and generally living large while we scrambled for the crumbs off their table. I felt that we had enough to go around that no one had to ever be poor, we were blessed with oil, ‘the black gold’, yet we were worse off. Our rich natural resources seemed to bring division and death, the suffering in the land was palpable, yet the rich fed off the riches of the land. I had a lot of questions, to which my uncle’s answer never wavered, he would always say “Eyen mmi, nie mboutidem ke Abasi.” To my uncle, all one needed to do was to trust in God.

Trusting took a bit of time, that was one of my hardest lessons to learn. Trusting means letting go, it often meant depending on others. I had lost my parents at a young age and I had learnt to be independent, going through life never being dependent but that was what my uncle was asking me to do. I had learnt to work hard and persevere, but I was yet to learn to have faith that God was not my parents who would desert me.  Gently and consistently God showed me I could trust and lean on Him and I learnt to do just that! Trusting in the lord for all matters great and small, for what to eat and for what to do. As I look back I see that He always came through, right when we needed Him. He never failed, to me He was the God of the eleventh hour, the one who gave hope when all hope was lost.

I remember when I needed to have a surgery to operate on my eyes, we had lost hope as to raising the funds. We had tried the government hospital that was supposed to be free, but the waiting list was very long, and the doctors kept repeating that I was going to lose my sight if I did not have the surgery within the next couple of weeks. I had given up already and was totally consumed with the thought of how I would survive in a world without my sight. I was in my last year at the Federal University in the state capital Uyo studying Business Management and I had such lofty dreams on how to change my state and country, so it was such a rude shock hearing that I would no longer be able to see. I had earlier had an accident in my first year in Uni and was hit by an oncoming vehicle and I got hit in my head and I did not know that it affected my eyes as I had gone to the hospital and was treated. I did not think any bit of it until I started losing my vision at the end of my third year in the University when I was diagnosed with having cataracts that would require surgery to correct. Even my entrance into the university is a miracle but that’s a story for another day. My uncle believed that I was going to be fine sight or no sight and just when I thought all hope was lost an NGO offered to take care of the cost of the surgery, God showed up for me and confirmed my uncle’s favourite verse in Psalms 125 vs 1: “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which can never be shaken, never be moved.” Whenever I felt low, ‘Ete mmi’ as I fondly called my uncle would tell me: ‘Nie ime ini-abasi ado eti.’ ‘Eyen mmi, be patient.

Life was not a bed of roses but I had a home, I had an uncle who loved me, I lived in a neighborhood with people I could call family and God was not done with me yet, I knew His plans for me were for good and all the dreams I had were going to be fulfilled.

I had just completed my compulsory 1-year National Youth Service Corps program when everything changed…

See you all next week as we continue this exciting journey and our prayers is that the many lessons God has in store through this story are learnt. Stay tuned, God bless you all and do not forget that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. Please don’t forget to drop a comment and also tell a friend to tell a friend to read. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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P.S Any error in the use of language is ours as we tried to get to the best of our abilities the right words to use.

New Year New Beginning

It is with great joy that we officially welcome you to the new year and we could not be more grateful that we are all alive to see the new year. We have a lot going on which would include 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. So what better way to start the year than  a post that is geared towards highlighting important lessons for the new year.Now dig in.

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Happy New Year! Yes, it is only right that we begin this with this age-old greeting. It is a new year and with it comes the usual, stock-taking, plans, resolutions and decisions to do better in the new year. For some there really is no need for the buzz and fireworks that accompany the start of a new year, yesterday has gone and today is here is the mantra they live by. If you were in Nigeria as at the 31st of December then you would be aware of the number of churches that had ‘cross-over’ services, the thanksgiving services to God for the gift of a new year, the supplications and finally the new year resolutions. Everyone decides on areas of improvements, habits that need to be dropped and new habits that need to be picked up. We write out plans on our diaries as a way of solidifying them; God to whom we pledge that we would be more serious about our walk with Him, career, finance and other numerous plans. We make plans on how we would be more intentional with our lives. However, before we know it these plans go flying out the window, we become the same way we were before these plans were formed and that brings up to the entire reason for this post.

A new year! A new beginning!

Why the hype? How do we begin the year? How do we ensure that this year does not become like all the other years gone by?

It is a new year and for us it is one that starts on a note of thanksgiving. Being thankful is not just an item to tick off our to-do list on New year. Being grateful is one habit we must cultivate as each day is another reason to be thankful for the gift of life, it is another opportunity to be better, to discover what the reason for our existence is and to live according to our purpose. What better form of thanksgiving is there than to live as Christ did and that is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God just as Christ did. You have but one life to live as the popular saying goes: “YOLO- You only live once” as such you need to make that life count for something. To live as Christ did is to embody Christ in every of our actions. This new year and indeed every day presents us a clean slate on which to begin anew. There is this Catholic Hymn I love, and it goes: “…Lord for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray, keep me my God from the stain of sin just for today.” The next day is not guaranteed, we only have but the present moment. We must learn to treat each day with the seriousness and importance with which we treat the beginning of every new year. Each day is a new beginning for us to blot out our mistakes, to live a little better, to change failure into winning, it does not have to take the start of a new year before we make all those plans to begin anew.

Just before the new year we celebrate the birth of Christ and his coming to earth holds lots of lessons that we can apply to our everyday life.

We start with his birth and one of the lessons we can learn is Humility, God humbles himself and comes as man to his creatures, He was born in one of the poorest areas in Israel, in a manager with the animals to teach us what it means to be humble. It however does not remove from his divinity, it does not change who He is, He is still God regardless of the circumstances surrounding his birth. Humility is a problem for most of us, the desire to exercise our authority over others, to laud our achievements and exert our power over seemingly inferior beings. God however calls us to a life of humility, Christ although He was God humbled himself and came to live among us and to die a shameful death on the cross for us. We have leaders both Christian and Secular who exert their power over their followers because to them God is using them. It is important to note that there is no powerful man of God, only a powerful God working through man and He can raise up stones to do his work. We as Christians are called to be teachers to all but students of Jesus our master. Our lives should be an example to all, our ways should teach others, show them the path to follow and not for us to conform to the standards of the world.  Being humble does not take anything away from you, it doesn’t make you any less of who you are. Humility teaches us that we do not know it all, there is something to learn from everyone. We have to come to the understanding that all we are and have comes to us from God as such we all ought to make our boast in God.

We move to the Wise men and the gifts they offer to Jesus and their significance to us as Christians. Just as the wise men offered Christ gifts, pause for a moment and ask yourself what my gift to Jesus will be this new year and for the rest of my life?

  • Gold which signifies Kingship. Christ asks us for our LOYALTY that we pay our allegiance to Him, that we hold on to Him in the good and bad times.  He is our King, his kingdom one that has no end and if we remain loyal to him we become sharers of that Kingdom.
  • Frankincense which signifies Priesthood. Incense was used in Jewish culture by the priests during worship to God. Christ requires from us that our life becomes one act of WORSHIP to the God who has created us. And what is worship?  Romans 12 vs 1 rightly sums it up: “So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”
  • Myrrh which signifies Death. It was used in Jewish time as an embalming oil. Christ died that we might have life. The bible in Romans 6: 23 says that the wages of sin is death and Christ the sinless one bears our sins, takes our place that we might live for him. Jesus asks us to offer our LIFE in service to him alone.

To sum it up, He is the way we must follow (Our King), He is the truth we must believe and worship (Our Priest) and He is the Life that gives us life (Our Savior).

And we move to the Baptism of the Lord. After John had baptized Jesus, the heavens were opened, and the voice of God was heard saying: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased…”

 ‘You are my beloved son/ daughter in you I am well pleased’

Stop for one minute and ask yourself:

Can God say that of me?

Can God say that of you?

Our Baptism does the following in our lives:

  • Rebirth: We are born again in Christ, dead to sin and to the world and alive in Christ. So, this is the time to look back and renounce sin, death, the devil and his empty promises and re-born in Christ. Because when Christ comes into our lives, the quality of our life changes and we become the master to sin no longer slaves.
  • Initiation: We become members of God’s Kingdom, adopted children of God, heirs of the Kingdom.
  • Consecration: Consecration means to be set apart. As 1 Peter 2:9 puts it: “But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light.” You are called to be the difference this year, to let others see the difference. The difference is you.
  • Empowerment: Baptism gives us the spirit of God and God’s Spirit empowers us to serve God and serve others. It also gives us the strength to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age. God’s spirit renews us as his followers.

We therefore should portray the attributes of people who have been baptized into Christ. God must be able to say of you: ‘This is my beloved Child in whom I am well pleased.’ You are different, set apart, you are now dead to sin, God’s heir, empowered to serve God and your actions must show this. Let this new year mark a new beginning for you. Let this be the start of an intimate relationship with God, a walk with your friend and Lord. Important to note is that God loves you and me, he loves you just as you are, not because of what you have done or not done. He knows you are a work in progress and he is not finished with you yet and the very fact that you are alive is enough proof that you are still important to him. Now is the time to ask ourselves:

What is God’s plan for me?

What is the purpose of my existence?

How am I living out that purpose and how do I plan to live out that purpose this new year and going forward?

How am I serving God this year?

How am I making the world a better place?

How am I being the difference?

How can I be a light to my world?

God has a plan for each one of us and they are all for good. He has a purpose for our existence and we must find out what that purpose is and align ourselves to it. Know this that for your sake God will not keep silent or rest until your vindication goes forth as brightness; meaning that he is constantly on the move working things out for your wellbeing. Let Him be God in your life this year because cut off from Him you will not survive. We need to learn to put our trust in Him and have faith that He does not fail. His love for us is constant and unfailing. He calls us to faith and an intimacy with him. He comes to make all that is imperfect to be perfect. Invite Jesus into your life every day and ask him to be your strength and sustenance. It is not enough to make plans and new year resolutions, it is God who gives us the power and the grace to live by them for it is not by power or by might but by the spirit of God and there is nothing impossible for him to do. Lean on Him.

This year you are called to “Show the way, Be the light.”

See you all next week as we continue with #Christianfiction Thanks for sticking with us. 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 3

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The new year just started, and we could not be more grateful that we are all alive to see the new year. We have a lot going on which would include 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 the final part and we are so sorry that it is coming this late, now dig in

Where you go, I will go and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.

These words would be the reason why Mother allowed me to go with her and they would later become my source of encouragement when I questioned my coming to Nigeria. Mom watched me fall apart many more times, she feared for my health and as she watched me she prayed asking God why this had happened to us.

I remember vividly the morning before our trip to Nigeria, I was exhausted from the packing and arrangements and Mother asked us to commit the entire journey into God’s hands and with tears in our eyes we prayed : ‘Lord be gracious to us; we long for you, be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress’ (Isaiah 33:2).

A year after my best-man died we were on the shores of Nigeria. It was a totally different experience than what I was used to. It took a while getting used to life in Nigeria, the people and the culture. It was a learning experience as I saw that the things I took for granted meant a lot to people. We moved into Ikoyi which I would come to find out was one of the better living areas in the country. I remember one event that makes me laugh even now, I had gone with Mama to a wedding of a ‘family relative’, you know the cousin twice removed and you needed to see the arrays of asoebi, I was looking like a fish out of water, mother had warned but I decided to go with something comfortable, what struck me was the gift sharing, almost every group of friends and families had gifts to share. Weddings were usually not the loud affair it was in Nigeria.

We learnt to accept the death as part of life experience and stood by each other because we were all we had. People laughed at my decision to stay but I always remembered the promise of my selfless love. They could not comprehend the reason behind my coming to Nigeria as they felt there was nothing for me to do here, I had no family to speak of, no child and was a foreigner. I still felt the loss and slowly we moved from crying to praying, then we sang, laughed and danced and my heart was slowly healing. I had a mother in Mama. She was a rock, held me and walked me through life’s challenges.

6 months after I moved to Nigeria, I was done with the sight-seeing and the waking up each day not knowing where my life was headed. I decided it was time to start working but I was not ready for the drudgery of the corporate world. I wanted something that would keep me on my toes, make me feel alive and put to good use my creative talents. I started researching, I wrote down every plan, idea, strategy that came to mind. I was looking at what I was good at and what would be viable, and the idea came, I loved planning events and Nigeria did not have a shortage of events. So, I started my business—EventsandMore. It was rigorous at first navigating the event management industry. I attended seminars and workshops, learnt how active participation on social media helped the business grow, got acquainted with awesome vendors and yes, I had to do a couple free jobs. Mom was so proud and supportive, she would bless me every morning that God would grant favour to the works of my hand ‘At night she would anoint my head and pray I find happiness and a man who would complete me (LOL! Like I was thinking about getting married again.)

I would return home each day and talk to Hubby about my achievements and plans (He was hard to get over, but I did not feel the breathlessness I usually felt at the beginning, I had learnt to immerse myself in happy memories). I also started a workout routine and I’d run every morning on the Lekki- Ikoyi bridge with the song ‘He still loves me’ by Beyonce on replay (hubby’s favourite). I felt his warmth like he was taking a walk just beside me (*chuckles* He was my Mr. Macho.) 

My first paid job came 2 months after I had started EventsandMore. It was my friend Cynthia who had become a close friend since my movement to Nigeria. She got married to a distant cousin just a month after my wedding and had given birth to her daughter who happened to be my god-child a year ago. She had decided to celebrate Zara’s first birthday with the cartoon theme: FROZEN. I was super excited and got the team working to ensure that everything was perfect. The D-day came, and I was everywhere ensuring things went as planned. Trust us at EventsandMore, the event was superb, and everything was top-notch from the decoration, to the photography to the catering. I was impressed if I do say so myself.

The party ended around 6:00pm and the after party for the adults began which was organized by Cynthia’s husband. We played games, talked and danced to the songs of the 90’s. It was at that party that I met Kunle. Kunle was one of Cynthia’s closest friend in Uni. He was well built, looked smart and his eyes were such that you could drown in them. He was in his late thirties and in my mind, I had concluded that a man as handsome as he was already married with maybe two kids. I know you are wondering how I was able to notice him. I have this habit of studying people and building stories around them, it was often a way to pass time.  Kunle had also been watching me as I was watching him and when (in my own opinion which I am sure if you ask Kunle he would deny) he couldn’t hold himself any longer, he walked up to me and made small talk. During our conversation, he asked what I wanted in a man (I hadn’t thought about that in so long) I smiled and said respect, love, understanding and the fear of God. Cynthia caught this moment and told mom and they became our matchmakers. They planned one visit after another, date nights, they went the whole nine yards. SMH! I learnt that Nigerian parents loved to be in the know of things and knew how to spice things up. Mom and Cynthia would update Kunle of my where-about, Mr C.E.O became my guardian angel (lol! everywhere I went). He treated me with utmost respect and gave me the space and time to heal properly. Kunle was also a good writer so I was treated to poems and love notes.

I would wake up to dreams with my best-man in them, he begged that I let his memories fade. I This was a tough one for me because in as much as I was beginning to love Kunle, I sometimes felt it was a betrayal on the memory of my late husband. Mama talked and counselled me, but I needed to understand and grasp it myself. I learnt that sometimes we don’t get what we want but God provides what we need. I wanted to focus on growing my business, but God blessed me with more, He blessed me with a man after his own heart, a man who shared my vision and would make me a princess fit for my King and God. The promises in the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 147:3 came true for me: “For he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wound”.

Kunle proposed in a small intimate setting on one of our vacations to Seychelles. I finally had my Instagram-worthy pictures. I wanted a small wedding considering this was my second wedding, but I had to reconsider as this was Kunle’s first wedding. It was everything we wanted and more, yes, I planned the event myself so were you expecting anything less than perfection. I look back and the word that comes to mind is beautiful. We had opted to write our own vows to each other and I would share mine with you all.

Here it goes: “Kunle Onitemi, you sauntered into my life when I was not looking, you showed me that God indeed blesses us more than we can imagine. I thought I was done with that part of my life, but you showed up and I knew all hope was not lost. With you I am ever reminded of how much God loves me. You are not perfect, yet you are mine showering me with unconditional love, being my friend and confidant and making me a princess fit for my King and God. I promise here before these witnesses to love, hold and cherish you, to be the best wife and help-mate for you till death do us part.” There was not a dry eye when we were done.

Kunle and I are with a son and a daughter, the two most precious gifts God could have given us. Kunle allowed for Mom to live with us, the kids and Kunle love her so much. He says Mama gifted him his most precious gift. We are not without challenges and each day is a learning experience, but we are blessed to have God as our head as we grow every day.

Thanks for listening to my story and just in case you have been wondering who this is my name is Ruth Coker, a woman loved by God, Kunle’s life partner, mother to Oluwanifemi and Oluwadarasimi Coker, daughter to Mama and an event planner extraordinaire.

We have picked valuable lessons to learn from the story of Ruth to share with you all.

  1. Loss and change is hard and more common than we know and dealing with grief can make us feel lost
  2. It is important to keep our promises and commitments
  3. Get to work, because something bad has happened is no reason to stop working.
  4. Have honourable intentions towards all.
  5. Make a move, don’t stay at a place and expect things to change.
  6. Having a noble character is key.
  7. Our decisions matter and never underestimate the power of your decisions, commitment, humility and integrity.
  8. We are all equal and important to God despite our race, gender or status.
  9. God uses little things to accomplish great plans.
  10.  Don’t let the past hold you back.

See you all next week as we officially start the year and thanks for sticking with us. 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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