heartstrings

my mind is a hollow mess of a thousand echoes
bouncing off the walls of my heart
they whisper to me in loud voices
preying on labile feelings and desires

my gaze rests upon glitters and sparkles
with eyes like lust, I stare
coveting the things I cannot have
and the days long gone

this flesh made from clay
craves to be admired and adorned
it needs trophies and applause
it delights in vain glory

lIke the strings of a newly wound guitar
you pluck gently yet firmly
producing a melody so perfect it hurts
you hold out Your hand for a dance
my feet stay glued, tired from the journey of mistakes past

your eyes search mine gently,
I hear the words Your mouth need not speak,
“trust, put your hand in Mine, dance”
I see your eyes swim with tears
your hand is still held out
your body poised to dance with me

you strip me away gently
with hands like love
removing the debris upon my spirit
breathing me to life
you quiet my will firmly
with words like fire
setting me ablaze
breaking me to stillness

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Life!

Hi guys! this is a short story written by my lovely sister and upcoming writer, Gbenga Oti. Enjoy! She would appreciate your kind thoughts too, there just might be a sequel.
……
I had waited so long for the day when I would walk down the aisle, with my arms locked into my fathers’ and my eyes set on the man I love. Everything was going as planned, the venue was booked and invitations were sent out.
He travelled for a business meeting. The meeting was successful, I was speaking to him as he was about to board a bus back to Germany, all of a sudden the line went dead and his mobile phone was switched off. I found this very strange as he never switches off his phone, maybe his battery died. An hour later, my mind went into overdrive, flooding itself with multiple scenarios of what could have happened, none of which were good.
The days that followed were tortuous; it is commonly said that “it’s better for someone to die than go missing”, then I understood, you grieve everyday hoping that they will return. I couldn’t sleep, eat or concentrate on my work. I contacted the Embassy and the police in Sweden; I got the standard reply “we are working on it”, this was really frustrating. I could not just sit around and do nothing, what if he had been kidnapped, but why wasn’t anyone calling for a ransom, was he dead? but NO that cannot be. A week later, my phone rang, it was HIM, he said he would be back and the line went dead. He was alive, that was good enough for me.
Then again, two weeks of silence, I could not contact him. I began to worry again; at this point the date of our wedding had passed by, my dream wedding was in shambles, my man nowhere to be found.
A month later, the embassy finally responded, he was arrested for paying for a bus ticket for some men he had just met over lunch. These men were illegal immigrants (unknown to him), his story was verified. I was so happy all this was over, and he would be back by weekend.
Or so I thought…

BLACK FRIDAY

Yesterday, the sun forgot to shine on Paris
The clouds held rain from Ethiopia
Japan was shaken to its roots
Nigeria remains in denial
And Lebanon cannot sleep

It seems the nights are no longer lit by the stars
Even the moon seems to have fallen asleep
The days are filled with screams of disbelief
At the infinite cruelty of the heart of man

The earth is spinning on itself and rolling over
Like a gambler’s dice carefully tossed
To determine the next nation, the next war,
It’s a game of chance

The prince of this world ravages on
Roaring, seeking whom he may devour
Leaving a trail of broken bones
Stirring up in the hearts of men
The power to hate and propagate evil

We’re tempted to believe the illusion that
Darkness is winning
And God is asleep,
Oblivious to our pain

Like a woman in labour,
Earth groans with many tears
What then is our hope?
In whom do we place our trust?

HIs Heartbeat, Her Pulse.

Dear Abba,
One too many compromises later,
my life is unattractive.
I’m constantly walking in defeat,
and living below Your standards.
How can you love me still?

Dear Child,
I love you unconditionally,
My trip to Calvary covered it all.
I wish you could see yourself through my eyes,
then you would know that I see My Son when I look at you.
Perfect,
Blameless.

Dear Abba,
My hormones are raging
and everything in me is screaming gratification,
I never thought I would be on this page again,
In a different journal with yet another male specimen.
How was I to know
that time spent in the back of a car with a preacher was not a sermon.

Dear Child,
the nagging feeling at the back of your mind
was my way of telling you to wait.
You wanted to, but you were not firm
You have to learn to mean what you say
Just like I taught you to.

Dear Abba,
I’m such an emotional wreck inside
Like pieces of a porcelain doll
carefully glued together
I wear masks,
of different shapes and shades
Whatever suits my audience

Dear Child,
forgive yourself, and forgive him
Just like I forgave you,
the alternative is a downward spiral to perdition
You do not want to be the reason why people look back at Sodom
Look upon Calvary and draw your strength
You are stronger than you think

Dear Abba,
what if I fail?
What if I’m not strong enough?
What if I’m a weakling?

Dear Child,
before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you
I chose you before the foundations of the world
I knew you then, and I chose to love you
Keep your heart in sync with Mine
Until you become the masterpiece I already see

Dear Abba,
sometimes I think your expectations of me are too high
Your standards too lofty to truly attain
How did Your Son do it?
How did He keep Himself unblemished from the world?
How did he resist the allure of this world?

Dear Child,
trust me to keep you from falling,
Know that my grace is sufficient for you
Abide in me, and I will abide in you
My yoke is easy and my burden is light

Dear Abba,
Your love is never-ending, overwhelming
It overflows the river banks
Its depth Is unfathomable
Its height immeasurable
I long to know it and fully understand the depths of it
Show me.

Dear Child,
I gave My Son in exchange for your life
So that you could stand before Me with confidence
Where you’ll see with perfect clarity,
The depth of My love for you.
Wait.

(c) Olamide Oti, 2015

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:14-16

Dear Father,

Today I am grateful for the life that you have given me.
There are times when I feel so far away from you,
My faith wavers and I forget who I am in you.
So I slip and fall from your tight embrace.

Every so often, my life is in disarray.
Today, I am sold out to you,
Tomorrow, my faith takes a plunge,
I often wonder how you can put up with my inconsistencies.

Each time I allow sin to drag me under,
The feelings are the same; those of shame, dejection and regret.
He whispers lies into my ears,
And drops a veil over my eyes,
Blinding me to the truth that
You will never leave me nor forsake me

Day after day,
the veil becomes clouded with more doubts than my feeble heart can take,
Somehow your voice breaks through my muddled mind and unplugs my ears,
Softening a heart so unwilling to believe how a God so perfect can love me.
Through the days when I stumble and fall,
You are there waiting, willing me to take your hand.
My mind cannot comprehend a love so perfect and I resist it because I do not understand it.

Every year, I resolve to have a better relationship with you,
A more stable one, devoid of failings.
By March, the euphoria of making it into the new year gradually evaporates,
My gratitude diminishes; old habits regain their appeal,
And become more important than trusting in a God whom I cannot see,
And whose love I barely comprehend.

By July, the void in my heart desires to be filled,
And so I try everything else but you,
Until there is nothing left but you
Then slowly but surely, I decide that the day has come to give you my life.
For a while, I can feel the change coursing through me.
They told me that singular act was the beginning of a new life.

Then the days turned into weeks,
And with the wind, the euphoria disappeared.
Now I realise that my walk with you is a journey of a lifetime.
Father, like Moses I thirst for an encounter with you.
One that will give me a clearer understanding of who You are.
Amidst the uncertainties that life brings, only one thing is sure,
Your perfect, immeasurable love for me.

Day by day, the world is turning against you,
And I struggle against the tides that threaten to drown me.
Teach me Your will and help me to receive your love;
Help me to serve you with all of my heart,
Hold me in your hands Father and never let me go.

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.

Heart Over Head in Love

Disclaimer
This is a fictional story. The characters and plot are works of art. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental.
images (16)
I remember the first time i saw you, it was our first year of our journey as med students, and the first day of Physics practical. You were bald, clumsy and had an unserious look about you and I decided immediately that I didn’t like you because you didn’t fit into the in-my-head description of what my lab partner would be like, I remember telling my roommate the night before that I didn’t want a girl(I had had enough of girl drama in high school). I told her I wanted a boy, a smart one with a head for Physics who would do most of the work for the two of us and in the back of my not-so-romantic mind, would be my ‘The One’.

My number had already been called and yours was up next, but you were no where to be found, I kept shouting on the top of my voice “who’s no 56?”, until finally, you emerged, and quite arrogantly said, “I am”. I proceeded to give you a lecture about punctuality forgetting that I had only just met you, I told you my name and we entered the lab and were assigned to our workstation. I asked you if you had studied the theoretical aspect of the day’s work and you said you hadn’t, then I gave you yet another lecture about preparation, but by then you had had quite enough of my lectures, from the exasperated look on your face, I was already slightly irritated by you, because your lateness had us scrambling to finish in time.

Fast-forward to weeks after, I was late for the practical session that day and you called to ask why I wasn’t there yet and that was the beginning of our out-of-the-lab friendship. Then the long walks around campus, and phone conversations began. Although, you tried to hide it and till this day you deny it, by the next semester you were already head over heels in love with me, and after months of chasing and wooing I finally decided to your girlfriend.

You were my little big secret, and I told no one of our budding relationship. I remember our first kiss, we had been walking for about 30 mins and then we decided we were both tired, then we went to the park. We had been talking for a while and then you looked at me with those large sexy eyes and asked if you could but I don’t remember getting a word in.
We weren’t perfect, we didn’t have all the answers but we liked each other, the decision to date you wasn’t borne out of love, it was an impulsive ‘Yes’ that was counting on a relationship that would last a year at most. It didn’t occur to me that I could fall for you, the thought never even crossed my hard hearted macho mind, and I thought that at the first sign of trouble I could cut and run.

Then the worst happened, I fell in love with you.
When I found out a secret you had being keeping from me, I thought I could end it, afterall we had been dating for just a little over a year, but I couldn’t do it. You were unapologetic, and claimed that I probably wouldn’t have dated you if I had known earlier, you were right. Sometimes, ethnic and religious differences only strive to separate us and keep us apart. It’s been 4 years and several breakups after but I have never quite cut and run, I’m still here for reasons best left unsaid.

I’m a head over heart kinda girl except when it comes to you, my heart always seems to win the battle, and common sense no longer applies. I wonder what happened to quitting while we were still ahead, instead we seem to be saving the impending threat of a heartbreak for later.
Oh well! I’m a tough cookie.

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.

Perfectly Flawed

I, like the rest of the world am flawed in so many ways…more than even I can count.
What makes me different? I have realised that despite my many flaws, I am perfect still.
Like Adam, I was created  in His image, every suture and stitch perfect and without blemish.
I am beautifully and wonderfully made.

God made me from dust; every bone,  every muscle, every nerve and every blood vessel and best of all, he breathed life into me.
He looked at me so tenderly, the work of his hands and said that I was good. 

Despite all my eccentricities and weaknesses, He chose to love me.
I am the daughter of  the King. He accepts me in all my  perfectly flawed splendour and loves me still like only a father can.

Best of all, I believe it.