Of Birthdays and Reflections

A few weeks to my 21st birthday. I met my Lord. It wasn’t until months later that I began to understand what this new life meant. Then words broke through the dam of self righteousness and flowed like a river. The beginning of my pen and paper romance.
For many months after that I still played around with the world. Drifting between two opinions, trying hard to merge light and darkness and fit unequal yokes together. Flirting with the sons of Belial, barely seeing through the foggy lens of my foolishness.
Until something happened that forced my eyes to see the futility of my unblessed efforts. I saw the darkness for what it truly was. Then I heard His voice calling me deeper. His word broke me away from the ties that bind and entangle.
Just when I thought I was doing great and communing with Abba in Eden, a stranger tried to undo what God had sealed…thank God for His mercy! He said “no way, she is Mine”. And so I was shielded and hidden in the palm of His hand.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3:12-14
I owe Him my life, now I urge you to partake of His goodness; to taste and see that the Lord is good. I invite you to meet my Lover and Saviour. His name is Jesus. He is the reason for my joyous hope, the story behind my flowing ink and the anchor that secures my glorious future.
The message is simple, only believe!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Olamide

Little Drops of Kindness.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/honey-versus-vinegar/
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I am not the kindest person you will ever meet, and I have no idea how my friends put up with me. My instinctive answer to every question is a rude one, and I rarely apologise for it.

Last year, during the strike that closed down all public Nigerian universities, I was home with my family when I heard a knock at the gate. I went to attend to the visitor albeit reluctantly, and found that it was my old primary school mate who I had been out of touch with, and who had come to seek assistance. She asked to borrow some money, and I told her I did not have it(I lied). In retrospect I wish I had given her the money tucked in my back pocket, the last of the holiday’s savings and somebody else’s random act of kindness. By the time I got back into the house and told my mum, she was so mad at me and scolded me for not doing the right thing by her. I went back out to look for her, but by then, she had disappeared and it was too late.

It did not end there, when my dad got wind of it, he ordered me to find out where she lived and to get her to come over to our house for lunch. I did find her house and went there a couple of times to check up on her but I never met her at home. If I got a second chance to do things differently; for starters. I would invite her into the house, and offer her a glass of water, and listen to her challenges and problems as a single mother of two. I wonder sometimes what she thinks of me, and if she still holds that incident against me, or if the fact that I tried so hard to reach her made any difference at all.

My roommate and I do not speak to each other, apart from polite and slightly forced ‘Good mornings’ and ‘hi’s’. You would think that after that incident, I would have learned my lesson and offered people the littlest act of kindness, the kind I wanted for myself. I cannot really say it is totally my fault though, it does take two to tango. The odds were not in our favour right from the beginning, but in our defence, we are two very different people with separate interests. I am not the conversational type, especially not with people I am not friends with, and I could stay for hours or days without speaking if I had to. She is the exact opposite and is quite bubbly. She was always eager to give unsolicited advice about my personal life and tried to get me to talk about myself. Random seeds of unkind acts were sown, and bitter fruits were reaped. I tried to make peace by speaking out about a particular incident that wounded my ego a bit, but it did not really work and now we are at an impasse, one that we are both unwilling to break.
So it is going to be just ‘hi’s’ and ‘hello’s’ until we switch rooms and this time around I am going to work extra-hard to change friendless greetings to warmer and much kinder ones even if that is all I can manage.

I am inspired daily by people who live their lives in the service of others and put others before themselves and gradually I am allowing the Potter’s hands to mold me, break me, and mold me again until all that’s left of me is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.

Church Rules!

rulesI am a christian and I love church but there are so many churches now that it is hard to make a choice especially if you are young and misguided. I recently made a change from a a bigger church to an on-campus fellowship and although I wish I made it a more graceful exit, I do not regret it.

As a family, we made a couple of changes when it came to church, most leaving happy memories, others not so much. My first experience in an ‘Ibadan’ church had me hating church as an 8 year old. There were people who complained to my mum about my sisters and I wearing jeans and not tying scarves(at 8?). Anyways, I was so glad when we made a change to a more ‘social’ church which at the time did not have any issues about children in jeans and was more ‘children friendly’. Although, back then, I hated being treated like a child and was a member of the adult Sunday school class(I was way too serious for goofy, talkative kids).

Participating in drama and choir presentations was fun until the ‘kiss’ that is, the unsolicited kiss from a budding paedophilic instrumentalist. I mean, what 9 year old wanted a kiss from the disgusting mouth of a 30 something year old nobody. I remember looking up at him, and telling him in my ‘grown up’ voice to never try that with me again or I would tell the pastor, and hence halting what would have been a story of abuse.

images (19)Throughout secondary school, going to church was a chore for me, one I soon stopped bothering to attend to. The chapel then was a lot different from what I was used to at home, and for 6 years I refused to adapt, not because I hated God, but because I hated the rules associated with going to places of worship. The ones about hair coverings were so extreme that the formidable ushers at the door would turn you right back if you dared to go without a scarf or a beret. After a couple of months, I just stopped bothering and only went for thanksgiving services, carol and valedictory services.

Now the head covering rule is back again, I am not totally averse to it anymore, I just don’t understand why it should be imbibed within the doctrine of a church especially for young people. Paul wrote, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man (that is Christian men and women) is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head” (1 Cor. 1:3-6).”

I do not wish to get into a never-ending argument about doctrine in the Christian faith but it appears to me that Paul was speaking to married women, and since I’m unmarried, why should the doctrine of a particular church tell me to cover my hair, that is not the only reason why I left though(too petty), I wanted a chance to know God for myself, among people in my age group without the familiarity and super-human expectations that come with being a preacher’s kid.

Although, it would appear that I have commitment issues, I probably do. I cannot really say that I have felt like I belonged in any church until now, I can safely say I’ve found my niche here, the trick is getting involved in what I do best, and utilizing my talents for the gospel while staying faithful to the one true God who knows no race, doctrine or language.
I am personally not against rules, because rules ensure order, but I don’t want to be imprisoned by doctrines made by men, all I want is to serve the Lord my God with all my heart regardless of legalistic ‘churchy’ righteousness.

There is no perfect Christian, we all strive toward perfection by the undiluted inexplicable grace that comes from the Father, and not by following all the rules.

Daddy’s Little Girl

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My earliest memory as a human was the day that I was born. I vividly recall my last night behind the walls that protected me and held me captive; smooth, firm, unyielding yet safe. The stranger whose uterus had imprisoned me had been restless all day. I had been tossed and turned in a million directions, swirling and bathing in the pool which was my home. I realized that the time had come to exit my cocoon. Then it happened, and I finally met the stranger whose body had been my home for months, and I knew she was my mother and the dark-skinned man  beside her who was grinning from ear to ear had to be my father.

I miss my childhood, the best memories of my life lie therein. I long for the innocence and resilience only a child can have and the reckless abandon with which we lived. One minute I was a zygote and the next, I’m all grown up and old enough to vote. I am no longer the young, charming innocent who could get away with the worst things. I have allowed the cruelty and bitterness in this world to taint and change me, and so I evolved into a cynical twenty-something year old who wants to be a child again.

My earliest memory of my family dates back to a different age. It was my fourth birthday, and my father had decided to take us all out. I remember my grandmother dressing us up in dungarees  and my mom weaving my hair into pigtails. We got into our sturdy and faithful yellow Mercedes Benz and off we went. He took us to the beach and we had the most terrifying horse riding experiences ever.

Then tragedy struck and things changed. We had to move, leaving behind our home, our friends and family. I received my first culture shock that year and grew up fast. Things were different, my father who was once so loving and playful had become a shadow which I barely recognized. I remember a conversation we had when I was six years old. I said to him, “Daddy should I call you Major, Sergeant, or Father?” and in his gruff and emotion-laden voice he replied, “Call me daddy”. I was ecstatic! My father hadn’t changed because he loved me less, he had changed because he felt inadequate as a father and a provider.

He taught me to ride the bicycle and caught me each time I fell. He taught me to play chess and made those tough years blissful. He always did say “Tough times never last, but tough people do”. I could not have picked a better father or family. He is the furthest thing from perfect. I would know, I inherited his feet, his dogged determination, his temper and his wit. Although, we are not the most expressive people in the world, but I’ll never forget the day my dad kissed my cheek. It was my first year in Med school and I had come home for the weekend and that’s when I knew for sure that he loved me and was proud of me.I miss being a child but I cannot wait to grow up and make him even prouder to be my dad, and in my heart of hearts I know that no matter how old I get, I will always be daddy’s little girl and he will always be my hero.

Dream On!

For as far back as I can remember, books have been a part of my life. It was after reading Ben Carson’s ‘Gifted Hands’ at nine that I first thought of becoming a doctor. Before that, I had imagined that I would make a pretty good news lady, an amazing pilot and or maybe even a great FBI agent.
‘Gifted Hands’ inspired me to dream and reach for the stars. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be a doctor, a neurosurgeon perhaps.
When it was time to choose sides in high school, I almost settled for the arts out of the fear of the unknown, and the nagging feeling that I was not good enough.
Fortunately,  my mother was there to encourage me and steer me in the right direction.
I am so much wiser now though and I sometimes regret choosing to study medicine and surgery on the days when the stress and despair of patients that cannot be cured get to me. On the other hand, there is  nothing more satisfying than the knowledge that you made someone better and gave them hope somehow.

Although I am certain that neurosurgery is not for me. I know that I am here for a reason. A purpose so much bigger than my narrow field of vision  can see.
However, I realise that the dreaming stopped at “I want to be a doctor” and I cannot see any further than the much awaited MB;BS degree.
I have no desire to be a mediocre and I long to influence my generation and generations yet unborn. I need to begin to dream again and believe in myself and my ability to be better than I am now.

As Eleanor Roosevelt rightly said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the future of their dreams”. I believe in myself and in what I can achieve by His grace. Who knows? I may never practice medicine,  but whatever happens… I hope to be the girl who left an indelible mark on the world.