A Queen like no other…3

We are excited to continue #Christianfiction. We said #MondayswithGWA is here to stay. We apologize for taking so much time to finish up this post. I really loving this kick-ass, strong independent queen in the making. We hope and pray that at the end, we are all able to take the lessons to heart and improve on our lives for what is the need if it doesn’t make us better humans. Now let’s dig in.

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…He said I had proven myself as a worthy daughter of the land and he was proud of me. He commended me for my selfless service to our Kingdom as the result was glaring for all- we had recorded the highest success rate in the history of the kingdom and our children were finally going to the University…Oh I had forgotten to tell you all that we had also taken the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and all our students who had written the exam had passed. This he said, translates to the development of the kingdom. I was happy beyond words, God had not failed me. He had shown up for me when everyone thought I had failed. Everyone was marveled from the naysayers to the ones who had doubted. The king immediately set up an education board in the kingdom with me, the principal and two other teachers. We were to come up with detailed plans on how to further improve and drive the kingdom’s literacy and education. The board was to present their action plan and feedback in a fortnight.

I was terrified, teaching students was something I loved and enjoyed but an education board, a presentation was different from what I was used to. I wanted to make use of the opportunity that had been given to me. I had the support of the principal and the teachers and as we researched on it, I gradually warmed up to the topic and was eagerly awaiting the visit to the palace. Okay okay let me let you in on a little secret; apart from speaking about the education and literacy program titled ‘Every Child a Leader’, I wanted to see the King. I haven’t stopped thinking about him since that day. I just wanted to talk to him and just gaze into his eyes and kiss him, he had the most kissable mouth I had ever seen.  He was so handsome and when he looked at you, he made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. I know, I have never been kissed and how many men have I seen but trust me, he exuded royalty. You need to see my face, I am blushing and going on and on like a hopeless romantic.

Oh, the days before my meeting with the king became long! It seemed the days moved slower. I could almost say it moved in the reverse direction. I was in a mess! I couldn’t concentrate on anything and found myself constantly day-dreaming about the king, what I would say if he asked me a question. Oftentimes, I would admonish myself to get myself together but would soon find myself lost in thoughts. Oh but then, I am sure the king would not feel anything for me besides regards and care as he would all those in his kingdom. I mean, I am not from a royal family; I am not even from a rich family, I am not even from an average family. We were poor. People from my side did not marry kings, no, we wait on those who did, and we did their chores and wash their laundry. There are some dreams one shouldn’t dare dream! This was one of them, yet I could not stop myself from dreaming.

I resolved not to get ahead of myself, not to overstep my boundaries either in thoughts or deeds. I put all my efforts in ensuring that the task given to us was very well done. This was a lifetime opportunity for our kingdom to develop through education. I had outdone myself on this one and I was sure it was going to be approved. I had fasted and prayed, and I was sure of God’s backing. I keep mentioning fasting and prayer right, the efficacy of these are something I have never doubted and was my own surest means of communication with God and I had learnt that no one who placed their trust in God was ever disappointed. It might not be at the time you want it or in the form you have prayed but He brings it just at the right time and in the right manner.

The day of the presentation was a day I’d never forget. I could barely sleep from the excitement so I decided to sing and pray. The moment day broke I jumped up from bed, did my chores, prepared Ete mmi’s breakfast and got ready. I spent an extra 30 minutes in the bathroom, wore my best outfit which I had recently bought for the event, combed my hair and packed it neatly and waited for the appointed time. I couldn’t eat breakfast due to the excitement, part of which you can already tell was from anticipating being in the presence of the king.

I dashed down to the palace, the meeting was brief and conclusive. The king and the council loved the plans and we were asked to start preparations immediately so that we could launch at the next Usoro Abasi festival. The King and cabinet members promised us their support and were ready to assist us in any form that we needed. The meeting was dismissed, and we were asked to go to the dining chambers though the king was in what seemed to be a brief discussion with one of the guards, so he motioned for us to go ahead. I got up slowly to allow the chiefs and school board to go out first, I was on my way out when I heard my name. I looked back to see the King in a boyish smile get up, walk towards me and take my hands. I would never forget the words he spoke next ‘’walk with me”

See you all next week and just may be we would come to the end of 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

Image credit: Google

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.

WHY MARRY

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Joined together as one

Valentine has come and gone and yes, we know we are late to the party but better late than never. This post has been in the oven since last year and what better time than to share this with all of you than at a time when we are celebrating Love. We have a King and Lord who is the epitome of love, who has paid the eternal sacrifice for us. We are joined to him in an everlasting covenant which is what marriage, a covenant that bonds us together which is why Christ calls us his bride and him the bridegroom. Now we are going to be talking about #WhyMarry and we do not want spoilers so as usually dig in. However it is to be noted that this is a long post as such we crave your indulgence, settle in, get a glass of chilled wine and learn the lessons that are within.

A friend called me and said she wanted me to be a guest writer on her website, I was thrilled. Yea, the ability to reach a wider audience, who turns down such an offer? The next question was what do I write about? First concern: we strictly write on the Christian faith, our journey, the struggles and issues surrounding it and other life issues because that is the route we have decided to channel our gifts and that is the purpose GWA is heading towards. Do I go all religious?  Tone it down a bit? This is almost impossible… how do you tone down purpose! My second concern came after I had gone through the site.  It had a whole lot of varied content though Eva had given me free rein, so I could choose what I wanted to write on.

Fast-forward to a discussion with Zed on a shared interest in BOM (Break or Make up on Instagram) the issue of marriage came up and on and on we discussed, and Zed asked me the question that prompted this post: “Why do you want to get married?”

I went blank, totally speechless. Before now it had never occurred to me that there had to be a reason to get married apart from the obvious ‘we are in love with each other, it is the right thing to do, I am getting older, I am ripe for marriage” (this one makes me laugh) reasons for marriage that we often give. I could have answered any or all the above, but somehow for me the question or answer went beyond the obvious, it called for an inward look as to why I or you or anyone else should consider getting married. This here is an attempt to answer that question.

So, take one minute (or two if you need more) and ask yourself these questions

If you are married:

  • Why did you get married?
  • Why that person? Why not another person?

If you are single:

  • Why do you want to get married?
  • Why this person? Why not the other person asking you to marry him or her?

What answers did you come up with if you are truthful to yourself?

So, we asked some people the same questions on why they want to get married and for the singles these are the commonest reasons:

  • Companionship
  • Raising a family
  • To reduce or erase loneliness
  • Love
  • Increases responsibility

For the married ones, we ask why they were married, and the answers were the same as above with additional insight as to the reasons they knew this was the ’one

  • Sense of belonging
  • Sense of rightness
  • Peace in their heart
  • Someone who understood them, complemented them and brought out the best in them.

And finally, we asked someone who was engaged and about to get married and this was her response: “Well for me, getting married has never been a part of the plan because before now, I never saw the need to but it got to a point in my life when I met someone who loves me more than I love myself, who complements me in all ramifications, someone who sees me way better than I see myself. What I call my flaws are or appear to be strengths to him. With him I soar higher, achieve greater things and find peace. This was tested by ‘time and prayers.’ Then I knew I was ready and would be getting married to him.”

Love, Love and Love seems to be the driving force in a lot of relationships, the one cord that holds the whole, so let’s talk a little bit about love.

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This is what love is!

1st Corinthians 13:4-8 is the perfect base on which to hinge love. Let’s do a simple exercise. First start with yourself, I was reading a tweet yesterday and it said: ‘you keep praying for the right partner, are you a right partner yourself.’ It got me thinking, we, I inclusive keep praying about the right partner but am I the right person, what steps am I taking to make me the right person, are there areas of improvements and am I working on them. Okay back to our exercise; 1st Corinthians 13 talks about the attributes of love, so replace love with your name. So, it should go like this: ‘Helen is patient, Helen is kind…’ so are the qualities present in you, are there attributes you need to imbibe that are currently lacking, you need to be the best person for that best person you are waiting for. Now let’s move to the other person, replace their names with love and ask yourself does he or she possess the attributes of love, since I don’t have a significant other, I would use a unisex name: ‘Tolu is not proud, Tolu is not rude…’

I know, I know Humans are flawed, we are all imperfect but don’t forget that we are all constantly striving towards perfection. You hear them say that Love is not enough, that you need friendship, trust, respect etc. But then what is love? If you love someone shouldn’t you trust them, shouldn’t you respect them, shouldn’t they be your friend, shouldn’t you want the best for them. God loves us and has given us the perfect example of what love should be, He has given us himself and sent his son to die for us.

I love this passage of the Bible 1st John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.” Most times our service to God is one borne out of a fear, not ‘the fear of the Lord’ but a fear of punishment, fear of ending up in hell, we do not love God because we ought to but because we think if we don’t then there is something He would do to us. I often ask God this: ‘Do not let the fear of hell or punishment cause me to love you, stir up in me a desire to love you with all my heart.”

Now that we are on the issue of fear and love, let’s talk to our friends who are in a relationship?

Yes, I know we have put in a lot of exercises, so it doesn’t become boring.

Now ask yourself a couple of questions?

  • Does the relationship leave you constantly afraid?
  • Are you always wondering what next would happen?
  • Are you never sure of where you stand?
  • Are there niggling doubts as to the rightness of your decisions?

Do you know that there is something wrong but live for the Instagram-worthy moments, the admiration of others, the likes and the loves and the comments, the oohs, awwws and the aahs? These moments seem to in our minds make up for the other not-so-good moments, the sometimes-physical abuse, the psychological both emotional, verbal and mental abuse. We pretend that it is a one-off never-to-be-repeated occurrence while we fearfully wait for the other shoe to be dropped. We lose ourselves and our self-esteem in the process, become less of a person because we want so desperately to be married, because time is moving at break-neck speed and we would rather endure a sham called love rather than leave.

The loved-up moments are so sweet and romantic that they leave you breathless, he steals your breath away you say, she will change you console yourself, I will pray, he or she will change for me. My love and constant devotion will make them change, on and on you deceive yourself, you are plagued with doubts. You make yourself a fixer of character, Mr/Miss fixer of human defect is it until your life is stolen that you would make that decision.

Why are you getting married?

Stop, ask yourself why?

  • Because he/she completes you
  • Because he/she gives you joy/happiness
  • Because he/she is your better half, that part that makes the whole come together.
  • To fill a void in your life.

The truth is your happiness does not depend on man, true happiness can only from a life dependent on God, only God can fill the void in your life and make you totally complete. You need to be enough for yourself, it is difficult especially when the pressure gets much, it is easy to just settle because time is passing, and you would rather be married than single.

Social media, music, movies and books seem to help sell the ideal of a love that is unattainable, and we often want to mirror that, and this often leaves us disillusioned when what we see doesn’t match what we get. Only God who is love is the foundation upon which love should be built. Only in him do we find happiness and fulfilment, only in God does everything make sense. You can take him away from your relationship or marriage and expect everything to be fine.

Have we left with you with more questions than answers?

I know, I started this as a means of me answering the question Why do I want to get married. However, it has shown the reasons that should not be the basis for your decision. Marriage is a vocation, one that should not be taken lightly. The wedding day with all the lights and colours is just one day, the marriage is for life. So, your reason for getting married should be clear cut. They say marriage is not in heaven, yet life on earth should prepare you for that. That said any marriage not leading you to heaven should not be something you be headed into. There might not be a loud voice saying to you: “My child stay clear” but there will be signs, that lack of peace that this is the right thing to do.

It is important to state that because you have been in a relationship for so long is still not enough reason to be married if you are not sure that this is the right thing to do. My answers are a mix of everything, the pressure is real, like there are days when I have to literally shut my eyes and ears not to be in that head-space, I want a family, I want love too, I want the companionship, you know that feeling that this person gets you for real, because this is my answer to God’s call on my vocation and because I believe that this is the person helping me in the process of becoming a princess fit for my King and God.  So am I there yet, I am that Miss right, no I am still a work in progress, I still have doubts, I still have fears, there are still questions in my head who would love or want me, would I get married, are my desires valid, are my standards high, am I not getting older and maybe I should lower my standards and the quick stab of envy when someone I know is getting married.

I have learnt so far that when you trust God all things work out in the end, that though the process be long and arduous, his plans as He says are for good and not for evil, to bring me to an expected end so while I am waiting, I am going to enjoy my singlehood, work on myself and be a princess fit for my King and God.

Now it is your turn to answer, WHY DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED?

See you all next week as we continue with #Aqueenlikenoother and our prayers is that the many lessons God has in store 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, share and subscribe. Do follow us on all social media handle @Godlywomenarising

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A Queen like no other…2

I am excited,we are excited to continue #Christianfiction. We said #MondayswithGWA is here to stay. We apologize for not being around last week. I really loving this kick-ass, strong independent queen. We hope and pray that at the end, we are all able to take the lessons to heart and improve on our lives for what is the need if it doesn’t make us better humans. Now let’s dig in.

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

It was during the Usoro Abasi festival, people had come from all over the country to celebrate.  It was a time for all those who were living in the city to return to their roots. We even had foreigners trooping in to be part of the most famous Usoro Abasi festival. That year’s own was bigger than ever, our state was beautifully adorned, everywhere was cleaner than usual, some were fortunate to lease out their homes for some income as the hotels in the city could not contain everyone who came, yes, the crowd was mammoth. Though my uncle and I didn’t partake in the festival because of our beliefs it brought a dash of fresh air. It was interesting to see all these people troop in to the state to witness the festival.

The Usoro Abasi festival is a religious purification ritual and symbolic reenactment of the mysteries of the king yam which is accompanied by thanksgiving offerings performed by the Chief Priest of the town. It was usually held to celebrate the harvest of yam before the new yam could be eaten. It was always a colorful event with masquerades who were said to be ancestral spirit and came to bless the land at this time. It was also a time for purification of the land. It used to amaze me that even Christians partook in this festival and did not see anything wrong in it.

The festival lasted for a month with various activities and smaller festivals like the Ekpo festival and the Usoro Ita festival. At the end of this one-month event everyone dispersed back to their different destinations, but something had happened during this and would bring a change in the palace. At that time all we heard were the rumors surrounding the occurrence but the one thing we knew for sure is that the king and the queen were about to be divorced, and that the queen had left the town immediately after the celebrations! There were speculations, it was a topic for discussion at every gathering. Everyone wondered why the queen left and what must have caused it. The queen always had ideologies and the king tolerated her excesses perhaps because of love, but in their opinion, she went too far this time. She had publicly embarrassed the king, refusing orders and mocking tradition… The town was outraged, and the chiefs frustrated, scared that this new recalcitrant trend would soon become the norm in the town and the wives become uncontrollable. They pressured the king to act fast as such matters could not be left to get “cold”. The judgement was that the King divorce her and she was to be sent packing back to her parents. It was done as quietly as possible and we heard she was lucky, as If it were to be in the olden days she would have been banished to the evil forest. In my opinion, these were all barbaric customs and traditions that needed to be outlawed.

After a few weeks the news died down and the city was back to his quiet self. I wasn’t however bothered by all of these as what was foremost on my mind was getting a job and helping to pull my weight in the house. My beloved uncle was getting old and the thought of him continuing with the menial jobs worried me! Ete mmi would tell me not to worry that Abasi provides for his people. I wanted a job in the city, but I couldn’t imagine leaving my uncle by himself to do all the work. I wanted to be there to take care of him as he had done for me.  I decided to therefore look for a job around whilst my mates went to the big city of Lagos to “hustle” as they say.

I soon got a job in the town’s secondary school. I was advised by many not to take the job as they felt it was fruitless! The students were always failing, they hadn’t recorded a single success in the WAEC exam in years! The school’s glory is dead they told me. You can do better than this, you have so much potentials, how can a first-class graduate be slaving away in Uyo, but i didn’t let that deter me. Ete mmi and I had prayed about this and my uncle was convinced that this was the right thing to do, that I had to take the job. 

I resumed at the Secondary school on a Monday I would never forget. The school was in a sorry state, dilapidated buildings, lackadaisical attitude to work and extreme lack of discipline.  They were short staffed, and I had to often take double or sometimes more subjects as all they had were Corp-members and old teachers. I got to work immediately and went above and beyond in my duty (If I say so myself, lol). This was not the economy I planned to make impact on, however I decided that this was my life and I was going to make the best of it. The new mantra was ‘Excellence’ ensuring that all the students excelled.  The students loved me as I made learning fun and they soon began to do well on their work. I put in the extra work and time, followed up on those that were absent, did after-school lessons and weekend lessons for free so they could catch up as the O’levels exams that were fast approaching.  It was difficult, it was hard work. It sounds very easy to say now and sounds like smooth sailing, but it was a period in my life that made me the person I am now. It molded me into some one strong. The children called me ‘Miss You can, Yes We can’. It was these words that I charged them with every day.  They needed to believe in themselves, that they could do it, that they could make something out of themselves. We prayed, learnt and helped the weaker ones catch up and we had fun, we laughed, we danced, we made the best of the entire situation. The whole town soon knew something different was happening, students were excited, parents doubtful, mockers watchful and I extremely prayerful.

The WAEC exams were drawing near and I had to focus on the SSS3 students as we had a lot to prove. We wrote the exams in May/June and it was then time to await the results, the school was on vacation and so we were all at home. I didn’t stop praying and trusting God. I enlisted the help of those I knew to pray with me. We started a prayer chain and had some praying at every time of the day for 30 minutes. The result was due in September just before schools resumed for the new session and I keenly awaited God to prove himself and allow the efforts of my students bear fruits.

I was at home one day when I heard my neighbors shouting, followed by a knock on my door… well what was left of the door.  I stepped out to see the king’s guards, they claimed they had been ordered to bring me at once.  I could see some of my nosey neighbors grinning wickedly and overheard them saying they knew I would soon get into trouble.  I said a silent word of prayer and followed. We got to the palace and I was surprised to see the school principal and teachers, even some students and almost all the townspeople had gathered! The king cleared his throat and spoke…I was lost in his rich sonorous voice, deep, yet soothing, I glanced at his beautiful face for this was my first time of seeing the king up close. I was away in my final year when his father died and as such didn’t witness his coronation. The king looked me in the eye, his eyes full of mischievous smile and his lips twitched a bit and i realized I had been caught staring. Gracefully he repeated himself, this time not taking his eyes off me.

He said…

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

Image credit: Google

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.

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

Image credit: Google

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.

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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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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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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